At present the residents of New Plymouth (population 55,000) are embroiled in a battle to end water fluoridation. A group of about 90 of us have been organizing since April. You can following our progress by visiting and joining our Facebook page Fluoride-free Taranaki at http://www.facebook.com/groups/207748655919333/ . The site is updated every time a local citizens group (anywhere in the world) pressures their city or town to end fluoridation. Ninety-eight percent of Europe and 60 US cities have banned water fluoridation. Only seven (mainly English speaking) countries continue to fluoridate water
Pro-fluoride advocates in the seven countries that still fluoridate don't have a leg to stand on in terms of research - their campaign is based almost entirely on propaganda. Moreover communities that continue to fluoridate tap water, despite citizen opposition, face a high probability of being sued (there are currently 66 lawsuits in the courts, most related to fluoride-related kidney damage).
Owing to the high chance of success, ending water fluoridation is an ideal cause to promote community involvement, as well as providing positive experience in movement building. If you're still drinking fluoridated tap water, I can guarantee there's a group in your area fighting it. To reach them contact the Fluoride Action Network at http://www.fluoridealert.org/
I have spent most of August working on my submission to New Plymouth District Council. The following is an excerpt from my submission:
Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Former Clinical Assistant Professor (Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) University of Washington Medical School (1996-2002)
Executive Summary: Fluoridation of public water supplies is a 70 year controversy. Historically most academic researchers consider the fluoride controversy a political, rather than medical or scientific, debate. The vast majority of peer reviewed research has always pointed to harmful effects on human health.
A Misplaced Burden of Proof
None of the studies linking fluoridation with brain damage, arthritis, hypothyroidism, bone cancer and other conditions offer absolute proof that water fluoridation is the root cause of these problems. They don't pretend to. However nearly all regulatory agencies -- with the New Zealand Ministry of Health being the notable exception -- acknowledge that they establish real cause for concern.
Depending on the context, the Minister of Health arbitrarily dismisses all studies linking fluoridation and health problems as either "flawed" or "hypothesis generating" (i.e. raising interesting scientific questions for further study). I have real problems with this cavalier -- and frankly cynical -- attitude. What the MOH is doing, in essence, is placing the burden on doctors, scientists, and citizens who oppose water fluoridation to find a statistically significant sample of children whose brains have been damaged by excessive fluoride exposure before they will consider banning fluoridation, as most of Europe has done.
The Health Effect of Multiple Chemical Exposures
For the MOH to demand this standard of absolute proof is illogical, unprincipled and extremely dangerous. For the last decade or so, the medical community has been dealing with a virtual epidemic of intellectual handicap, learning disability, autism, ADHD, arthritis, hypothyroidism and osteoporosis in the elderly. Obviously there are multiple causes for these problems. However there is strong presumptive evidence that it's linked to the cocktail of chemicals all human beings are exposed to on a daily basis. Fluoride is merely one of the chemicals doctors and scientists are concerned about.
When global blood screening shows that most people are regularly absorbing at least 100 toxic chemicals, it's extremely difficult to link a specific illness to one exposure or combination of exposures. However unlike other potentially dangerous chemicals, fluoride is being used as a drug to prevent tooth decay. As such, it's the only drug in modern use where there is no obligation on the manufacturer to establish its safety and effectiveness. To make matters worse, the government is forcing us to take it by putting it in our drinking water.
Fluoride: the New Lead