Water fluoridation vow from Labour

Water FluoridationLabour has vowed to make water fluoridation a priority if it wins back power at next year’s general election, telling Dentistry: ‘We need to be bolder.’

In an exclusive interview with Dentistry magazine, the party’s health spokesman pledged to try to persuade local health chiefs to finally ‘grasp the nettle’ on the controversy.

Andy Burnham said: ‘It’s one of the simplest and easiest ways to improve the health of children, as well as improving their self-confidence and self-esteem.

‘There is clearly no public health argument against it, not a shred of evidence that it damages health.

‘If there was, there would be campaigns about it in the West Midlands.

‘We need to be bolder on public health – and, to my mind, that includes water fluoridation.’

The comments come after the only proposed water fluoridation scheme anywhere in England – in south Hampshire – collapsed after fierce local opposition.

Public Health England (PHE) pulled the plug despite its firm belief in the benefits of water fluoridation, because of the lack of support from Southampton City Council.

The scheme was proposed as long ago as 2009 – to add fluoride to tap water for about 200,000 people in the city and wider south Hampshire – but was never implemented.

The decision was seen as crushing hopes of extending water fluoridation because – with the axing of strategic health authorities – decisions now rest with local councils, directly answerable to suspicious voters.

But Mr Burnham said he did not share that pessimism, arguing other areas with worse problems of rotting children’s teeth were more likely to act than Southampton.

He identified Greater Manchester as the most likely, pointing out north west hospitals carry out seven times more tooth extractions on children, under general anaesthetic, than in the fluoridated West Midlands.

Mr Burnham said: ‘I believe they had a strong case in Southampton, but the geography of that area made it difficult.

‘There aren’t the same health problems in Hampshire.

‘I hope Greater Manchester will now pick up the cudgels.

‘And we may find it’s more likely now, because councils have more experience of bringing forward an argument and winning it.

‘I don’t see the change as a negative step, because the health service didn’t go for it.

‘And Greater Manchester can use the West Midlands as a comparator.’

Mr Burnham said he had ‘always been a believer’ in water fluoridation, having led the 2003 campaign to change the law to take decisions out of the hands of the privatised water companies.

He said he would not put direct pressure on councils – which had responsibility for public health – but he would encourage them to ‘grasp the nettle’.

There was a ‘small civil liberties argument’, but, Mr Burnham added: ‘For me, that is offset massively by the benefits for children.

‘If kids have very bad teeth, it damages their confidence.

‘They can feel self-conscious – and some just don’t have the same support from parents, when it comes to brushing teeth.’

8 Comments

  1. 1

    Perhaps Andy Burnham has not been reading recent research literature on fluoridation and has been persuaded by Public Health England (and Prof. John Newton in particular), that fluoridation is the “best thing since sliced bread”. However, white “sliced bread” is not so good for our health (unless our Andy has been told that it is ‘something altogether phantasmogorical’).

    To start at the beginning: fluoride causes excessive parathyroid hormone (PTH) to be produced which denudes the bones of essential minerals, thus causing bone problems. Fluoride-induced PTH also enters the pancreas which then prevents the production of insulin which has a knock-on effect of causing diabetes II. Then it alters our bones from hydroxyapatite to fluorapatite and makes them less resilient to impact blows. Then it affects the functioning of the thyroid gland, negatively. Then it is absorbed through our skin and negatively affects the thyroid gland even more. It even attaches to TSH receptor cells in our skin and stops the positive effects of the thyroid gland. It then causes a disturbance in our stomachs and causes stomach pains and this, in the young child or nursing baby on baby formula (made up with fluoridated water) causes sleepless nights and pain. Need I go on? Allopathic medicine is in denial. Practitioners will rue the day!

    All the allopathic practitioners need to do is to have a look at the effects which flouride has on Indian people (the sub-continent, not America). If fluoride can do this short-term then what is it doing to our bodies long-term. I, for one, am so grateful that I saw the writing on the wall and stopped ingesting and absorbing fluoride 10 years ago before it was too late. However, even I have been suffering lately from absorbing fluoride. A couple of months ago, I realised that showering in fluoridated water was causing calcification of my neck ligaments. Fortunately, I’ve stopped showering under the jet and my neck has finally started to be less painful. How much more do I have to do to prove that ‘fluoride is doing us in’?

  2. 2

    Politicians like Andy Burnham terrify me!! Toeing their corporate line – dosing our water with industrial waste hexafluorosalicic acid (+2% other hazardous toxins) – the chemical they call “fluoride” – wastes that would never otherwise be allowed near our lands, waterways and air and would cost dearly to dispose of any other way in accordance with law.

    Mr Burnham is not stupid (I’m sure) but he sure acts stupid when he says there are no people’s campaigns against fluoride in the West Midlands. I have run campaigns here that tell me people are horrified at what this chemical may be doing to them and their families. The West Midlands Against Fluoridation group (WMAF) (who have written to Mr Burnham in the past) is very active. Perhaps it’s because Mr Burnham is Chairman of the British Fluoridation Society that he seeks to pretend the protests of people suffering this fluoride abuse don’t exist?

    He may think there is no harm in fluoride (although, again, I don’t know how he might be that stupid) but the scientific evidence built up against fluoride far, far exceeds any number of dentists backing each other up with endless merry-go-round of verbal endorsements of “safe and effective” that are based on virtually nothing but a couple of desperately flawed comparative studies in the US in the 1950s.

    Mr Burnham is living in the barbaric fluoride Dark Ages. It’s about time politicians like him followed the example of the Israeli government who, only this year, have banned the practice altogether.

    Fluoride is a poison – pure and simple. More and more dentists are breaking ranks and saying as much. It does what poisons do the the body and disrupt normal biological processes – bones, brains, nerves and organs. Fluorosis (damage!) to the teeth they say is “an acceptable by-effect” (try asking the poor kids too embarrassed to put a smile on their face about that particular piece of paternalistic arrogance!). But otherwise everything else these “health professionals” misdiagnose and refuse to even examine for fluoride damage (ie thereby supporting their claim that “there is no evidence of harm” as they like to say!). So anytime anybody is diagnosed as suffering with degenerative arthritis they might do well to consider that their symptoms are identical to skeletal fluorosis (which is never the doctors diagnosis!). Or obesity and failure of kidneys. Or dementia (fluoride apparently facilitates the flow of aluminium into the brain). Or thyroid problems. Or ………. well … you name it ………. because that’s what poisons do to the body. There is not a single biological function in the human body that needs fluoride. Mother’s milk processes it out to almost nothing for their babies. Yet here we are forcing bottle fed babies to have far, far more fluoride than nature would ever have. Is it a collective insanity, promoted by a few greedy industrialists? Whatever – it has to be stopped!

    • 3

      Chris,

      Flouride is undisputedly responsible for significant increases in the oral health of vast numbers of the population where it has been introduced to the water supply.

      On that basis, we support fluoridation of water supplies and feel strongly that this is more than sufficient an argument to back up our view.

      Julian ([email protected])

  3. 4

    Whoops! Sorry. Just a brief correction to the above comment. Mr Burnham is NOT President of the BSF – he WAS a vice president until he resigned in December 2009 as it conflicted with his post in Parliament.

  4. 5

    First, thank you to Dentistry for allowing my original comment. I do understand the comment challenges Dentistry’s long-term support of fluoridation.

    But in Julian’s comment (above) even the fact that he uses the word “undisputedly” to support fluoridation, when clearly those facts are hotly disputed, shows how defensive and surreal any debate has become. Same as for Mr Burnham’s claim of “no opposition” in the West Midlands! Such bland and obviously wrong claims do nothing to advance argument on the moral, legal, ethical and indeed efficacy issues surrounding fluoridation.

    Science is there – the latest being a new brain study from Harvard (Choi et al. 2015) – discussed at http://braindrain.dk/2014/12/mottled-fluoride-debate/ – the newest in dozens of recent studies demonstrating IQ suppression in children measured by their exposure to fluoride. These studies are being ignored by conventional medical authorities.

    Even if ingested fluoride was good for teeth (and weight of evidence now is that fluoride is only beneficial with topical application – ie directly onto the tooth surface with toothpaste, which seems to usefully poison tooth bacteria which cause cavities and is then washed and spit out) then on the basis of an array other medical, legal and moral issues and research a loud and clear alarm must ring out against the practice of fluoridation as a dangerous and unwarranted health intervention.

    By comparison non-fluoridated Scotland’s “Smile” dental campaign has produced excellent results and value for money and should be extended to England.

  5. 6

    Virtually all dental products contain fluoride, why does it need to be in our water too? Those of us who choose not to be fluoridated can “opt out” by searching out alternative (fluoride free) products. I really don’t need “big brother” deciding that I need to be medicated.

  6. 7

    You’re proposing to put fluoride (Hexafluorocylicic acid) in 100% of the water.
    The Department of the Environment admit to loosing 40% in underground leaks before you even get it – so that’s 40% of all the water you’ve bothered to fluoridate gone out into the environment where it is not supposed to go by International Law !
    Out of the 60% that’s left, industry uses 7/8th of the water supply – I’m including farming. So that’s 7/8ths of the 60% of all the water you bothered to fluoridate gone.
    Out of the 1/8th that makes it to your house, you drink less than 1%. You water the lawn, wash the dishes and clothes and flush the toilet but you’re not drinking it.

    Out of the population, how many children have the really bad teeth we’re trying to cure? About 3% of the population! So you have 3% of the population drinking 3% of 1% of 1/8th of 60% of all the water you’ve bothered to fluoridate. Does this sound like a logical way to deliver a drug to a small target audience who don’t even drink the water?

    Would you want me to take someone else’s drug for the rest of my life for a condition I don’t even have – because a small group of children don’t brush their teeth, eat too many sweets, and drink fizzy drinks all the time! Well if they are drinking fizzy drinks full time, then there is no point in putting it in for them, they don’t even drink the water supply.

  7. 8

    Further to the value for money points above, if the (putative) government is that bothered about children’s health maybe spend more time challenging story NHS policies, and slip in a subsidy for children’s fluoridated tooth paste if you really think that is necessary.

    Oh and Julian you work in a science website and someone is disputing your science, so it’s clearly not undisputed, is it. Answer the challenges about recent research rather than feebly claiming that it aids oral health (maybe it does; that wasn’t the objection).

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