Sunday, 29 May 2011

National Fluoride Information Centre dumped

The British Government's 'Fluoride Flagship' has finally had its funding pulled, supposedly as part of the National Health Service's desperate attempt to save money. Well, here's a bit of background - click on the link and read on and make up your own mind! See:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Letter to Anne Milton

OK this blog has been rather neglected but we have still been meeting. Last week nine of us discussed next steps. We also reviewed the on-going correspondence with Neil Carmichael re water fluoridation - in the past he has said more research needs to be done - see here. However now in his letter he seems to imply he might support water fluoridation - we will be seeking to clarify this. In the meantime here is the follow up letter from the Safe Water Campaign via Carmichael to Anne Milton. She wrote an extraordinary and disturbing letter supporting water fluoridation - disturbing because it contained misinformation. I can't believe she has even read the York Review she quoted. Anyway here is the letter with questions to her:

Anne Milton MP
Parliamentary Under Secretary for State for Public Health
House of Commons
London SW1A0AA

Dear Anne Milton,
Thank you very much for your response to Neil Carmichael to my letters of 1/6/10 and 6/3/11.

It would seem from your reply, if the quotations from your department’s “website” are true, that the Strategic Health Authorities (unelected bodies) have the power to ignore government policy!!
You restate that 72% of people consulted in the Southampton area were against fluoridation (after obvious careful consideration) and in the Ipsos MORI telephone consultation of 2000 people only 32% of people were in favour (with clearly no time to consider their response) which means 68% were opposed or undecided.
I find it difficult to believe that a government’s stated policies can still be overruled by an unelected S.H.A. even if the S.H.A. is following the “letter of the law” as regards consultation proceedures!!

A) Please would you let me know if when the PCT’s and the SHA’s are dissolved next year and the comissioning process will be in the hands of consortia of doctors, whether government policies on such areas as fluoridation will become an overruling factor one way or another?

B) My original letter of 1/6/10 asked what the coalition governments policy on fluoridation was going to be? I still haven’t received a definite response to this question.

In respect of the consultation process, your suggestion that “particular attention may need to be given to representative bodies such as business associations, trade unions,voluntary and consumer groups and other organisations representing groups especially affected”, would seem to me to be a type of “lobbying” which would completely negate the morality of a “public consultation” about peoples’ personal health and right to choose. There could also be possible financial implications or specific business interests?

C) I would be interested to know which groups were given “particular attention” in the Southampton consultation? Please could you tell me, or let me know where I can get this information?

You quote that over 200 million people in the UK and the USA drink fluoridated water and you state that “no ill effects have been identified” and you refer to the York Review of September 2000 which in fact does not state that they found “no evidence of any risk to overall health from fluoridation”. I would suggest that you read what the York Review actually says!!
I enclose a photocopy from “Public Health: Ethical issues” November 2007-Nuffield Council on Bioethics, which gives a reasonably unbiased picture of the pros and cons of fluoridation.
You admit in your letter that there is the danger of “dental fluorosis” and suggest that it is of “aesthetic concern” to “very few people”. The York Review puts it at 12.5% with a Medical Research Council figure as low as 3-4%.

This, even at the minimum figure of 3% ,would give a figure of 6,000,000 people with severe dental fluorosis in the UK and the USA and a mimimum additional figure of 6,000 people in the Southampton area!! I don’t think that I would dare to call that “very few people” ?

The pages I have sent show on the graph the steady decline in the incidence of d.m.f. (decayed, missing or filled teeth) in European coutries (1965-2003) in both fluoridated and non-fluoridated countries. This would seem to suggest that fluoridation is not a major factor in dental improvement?

In an earlier paragraph in your letter you suggest that “the ideal combination for good dental health is likely to involve both drinking fluoridated water and observing good dental hygiene”. I would suggest that the ideal essential for good dental health is a sensible diet and good oral hygiene. (How about a tax on sugar?)

The first sentence of the same paragraph states that “Evidence suggests that fluoridating water is the single most effective step we can take to reduce tooth decay generally both among children and adults irrespective of personal behaviour”. There is however evidence that fluoridation merely delays tooth decay for about a year and therefore other methods of prevention are still necessary. The original supposition for benefit to teeth was also taken by observing naturally fluoridated areas.

D) In relation to childrens’ teeth, I notice that in many areas of the USA and now also in Ireland (where incidentally they are reducing the concentration of fluoride from the “optimum” level of 1ppm to 0.8ppm) they are recommending that bottle fed babies do not have their feed made up from fluoridated tap water because of the health risks. Is this policy also going to be introduced in England in areas where tap water is already fluoridated?

The “Hampshire against fluoridation” group has also questioned the Southampton PCT’s claim that “fluoridation would make A MAJOR DIFFERENCE to the teeth of adults” and have complained to the “Advertising Standards Authority”. The ASA’s scientific experts ruled that there was “no good quality evidence” to support this.

E) The York Review also suggested that there was no “good quality evidence” to support or reject “fluoridation”. I also asked in my letter of 6/3/11 whether the Southampton area “ fluoridation project” was going to be used as a long term (50 years?) experimental test bed on the effects of fluoridation? Can you please respond to this question?

Finally I would like your answers to the following additional questions-
1) If someone is given a drug to control their blood pressure, are they being given medication?
2) If someone is given asperin to reduce the risk of a stroke, are they being given medication?
3) If someone is given “fluoride” to reduce the risk of tooth decay, are they being given medication?
If in 3) above, it is not considered to be medication, then a very deadly poison, hexaflurosilisic acid is being added to peoples’ water supplies. Is this legal?

I would welcome an early response to these questions.

Yours sincerely,

Rob Mehta, Chairman,Safe Water Campaign for Gloucestershire