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Fluoridation – Individual Versus Bureaucracy

on Wednesday, 01 April 1959. Posted in Fluoride

In its battle against the move to fluoridate society's drinking water, the directors of the Union of Electors have occasion to read a considerable volume of words on the matter.

One of the most concise and comprehensive, yet intelligible, essays against fluoridation is an article by Geoffrey Dobbs, an Englishman. Dr. Dobbs is a Ph.D., an Associate of the Royal College of Science; microbiologist; member of the staff of the College of North Wales, senior lecturer in the University of Wales and formerly of King's College, University of London.

The article in question appeared in the May, 1957, issue of Water & Water Engineering, quoted as, "the leading British journal concerned with water technology. It goes to nearly every water department in Great Britain, as well as overseas to all parts of the world". The title of the article — "Fluoridation – A Study in Confusion of Functions". Reprints of this article may be had by writing to The Ohio Pure Water Association; L. S. Stevens, Chm., 72 N. Main St., Akron, Ohio.

"A confusion of functions"

"A profound confusion of functions is a fairly obvious feature of this unwholesome situation."

This sentence from the article seems to sum up fairly adequately the gist of Dr. Dobb's attitude towards fluoridation as well as giving the article its heading.

The author maintains that in this whole business of fluoridation, there has been a reversal of roles among those chiefly concerned with propagating fluoridation. This, he points out, is what happens when a campaign for a project is sponsored by officials who desert their normally neutral positions in order to push a movement, of which the "pros" only are advertised, a campaign of silence being waged against the "cons". Since, for the most part, the pro-fluoridation party is either headed by or heavily supported by municipal or state officials such as the medical officials or the water engineers, the propagation of the anti-fluoridation movement is left pretty much to private individuals who find that they do not have at their disposal the same means of publicity. In the words of Dr. Dobbs: "Under such circumstances the only reşort of objecting members of the public is political action letters, pamphlets, public meetings, pressure on councillors, etc.".

The result has been a decade of the most bitter controversy. In the one hand, there has been little really objective study of this matter of fluoridation by officials who are usually supporting the project, nor is their much trust accorded their "demonstration" of the benefits of fluoride.

Dr. Dobbs goes on to say:

"A profound confusion of functions is a fairly obvious feature of this unwholesome situation. The mechanisms of local democracy are totally unfitted, for asking this sort of decision which ought to be outside the field of "politics" altogether and within the field reserved to private judgement and freedom of choice of the citizen, with or without the technical advise of his own doctor or dentist. At least that is the accepted social philosophy in the Western Democracies, and if it is to be over-ridden by another which holds that compliance with official opinion on "health matters, even with regard to non-contagious diseases, may be enforced by the political power upon the individual citizen, then the thing should be fought out openly in the political arena where it belongs, and not introduced as a by-product of a particular treatment of childrens' teeth."

Peoples' rights spurned

In other words, if the new theory is that the citizen must follow what the public official thinks is right, which is a complete turn-about from what our democracy teaches, then let's make the acceptability of this theory the subject of political debate; let's not try and sneak it in under the pretense of looking after the kiddies' teeth.

Dr. Dobbs goes on to say that preventive dentistry is only a very narrow-branch of the vast field of human medical care. However we have the spectacle of this one small branch usurping a great and important sector of the public service, the water supply, in order to put into execution one of its theories, and it makes use of the machinery of government to enforce its claims. Thus the experts in such a minor function cannot help usurping and perverting the functions of other people".

Dr. Dobbs goes on to illustrate this:

"Thus we get official publications relating to public health being used to expound the views of anonymous medical officials on the 'rights of the individual'; we get medical and dental officers waging a political campaign against a section of the people; we get councillors imposing their 'health' ideas on their fellow-citizens; we get the begging of fundamental questions in law, politics, ethics, and ex-cathedra statements to the public by 'experts' on dentistry and public health, covering a vast range of special disciplines; epidemiology and statistics, nutrition and human physiology; toxicology, allergy, psychosomatic medicines, as well as the sciences relating to water supply — hydrology, hydrobiology, chemistry, engineering."

This is what is meant by 'confusion of functions". And it is against just such confusion that Social Credit has been waging a war for many years now, first in the field of finance and politics and now in the field of public health.

Socialism !

Dr. Dobbs also refers to one aspect of the fluoridators' assumptions that is particularly disturbing. The British Ministry of Health in its report of 1955, states that one of the benefits of fluoridation through the public water system is that it does not depend upon the co-operation of children and their parents as do other preventive measures. Drawing the consequences of this assertion out to their logical conclusions, we might expect that care of the child's health will ultimately be taken out of the hands of the parents and put into the hands of the state. And if this situation comes to pass, then why should not the care of everyone's health no longer be a matter for his attention but something which the state will decide upon regardless of what the individual might wish?

This is no fantasy! We might just pause and ask ourselves why the state and lesser forms of government have chosen to make an issue of one small phase of health care the prevention of tooth decay? Why is the state willing to go to such expense and waste, ready to take such autocratic steps in order to force a measure upon the people, when such a measure, even if beneficial, could be administered through tablets or some other form of prescription and left to the choice of the individual? If the government can force the individual to take prevetive measures to prevent tooth decay, why can't the government not force all the individuals to take any measure it may wish or deem advisable (and here, when we speak of government, we mean just those same anonymous officials who have been instrumental in having public drinking water fluoridated without the consent of the people) for any disease or ailment for which someone may find a possible remedy? And if this can be done in matters of health then why cannot the same coercion be used in regard to any other aspect of society? Thus socialism, the dictatorship of the state — becomes a reality and liberty dies!

This is the frightening aspect of fluoridation; that all the publicity has been for fluoridation, none of the arguments against it being given any publicity; that the fluoridation of water has been done, for the most part, without informing the people or without consulting their wishes.

Not mass medication?

The proponents of fluoridation will argue in the following manner about this most important and crucial point of the fluoridation program; (and here again we use Dr. Dobbs' text):

"This should not be described as mass medication. What is proposed is to make good a deficiency in those water supplies which lack this beneficial element."

Dr. Dobbs then goes on to consider the three main points in this "bit of evasion" — "mass medication", "deficiency" and "this beneficial element".

About mass medication: fluorides are added to treat people and not to treat the water, he says. He then quotes the letter of an emminent ophthalmic surgeon which appeared in The British Medical Journal of April 23, 1955:

"Sir, — The Delaney Committee which investigated this matter in 1952 correctly stated in its report to the U. S. Congress: 'It is safe to say that fluoridation is mass medication without parallel in the history of medicine.' Even if its effects were less controversial than they seem to be, it is clear that this method of wholesale, indiscriminate administration of what undoubtedly is a highly toxic substance, is improper and constitutes a complete break with medical tradition of individual care and responsibility. I am, etc. — A, Rugg-Gunn."

Fluoridation is just as much medical treatment as polio vaccination, adds Dr. Dobbs.

A deficiency in the water supply — the purpose of drinking water is not to prevent dental caries in children. If the term "deficiency" is to be accepted, then we must accept that the human body has developed on water supplies mainly deficient in one of its needs. Curious, is it not, that nature, which so abundantly supplies all that the body needs in the many foods and in the water it supplies, should have missed out on this one item! But what part does fluoride play in the biological processes of the body?

Although the fluoride ion occurs in all body tissues, there is no evidence that it serves a specific physiological function. It is probable that its presence is merely a reflection of its wide distribution in nature.". (From "'The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics", Goodman and Gilman, Mac Millan, 1955, p. 828 as quoted by Dobbs)

Is water supposed to contain fluoride in those quantities which fluoridators maintain are necessary for the prevention of tooth decay? If so, then why does nature not supply it? Perhaps nature intended man to avoid dental caries by using his common sense in the matter of diet and hygiene.

Officialdom ignores reality

This beneficial element — this section of Dr. Dobbs' article is somewhat technical, but the figures which he gives show that there is practically no margin of safety between the dose needed for preventing dental caries and that which can induce low-grade poisoning. He says:

"What is so thoroughly alarming about this affair is the attitude taken up by officials upon whom the public relies for the protection of its health. Medical reports are now beginning to come in from the U.S.A. of recognisable signs of incipient fluoride intoxication in some sensitive people in the fluoridated districts. It should be obvious that there will be difficulty in establishing such diagnoses with certainty, but the existence of such reports by reputable medical practitioners ought to be placed on record as, at least, an additional reason for caution. On the contrary, they are ignored unless brought up by the opponents of fluoridation, when they are treated with hostility and derision."

Again a reversal of roles, a confusion of functions. The health officials should be criticizing, thoroughly, fluoridation at even the slightest suspicion of danger. Instead, it is private individuals who must do the criticizing.

Reducing the incidence of tooth decay among our children is a most praiseworthy objective. But it must be pursued within the framework of our democratic institutions; any measures to reduce dental caries cannot be undertaken in defiance of the rights of the individual. Furthermore, such measures may not be taken as long as there is any hint or suspicion that the community or any fraction of it might suffer ill effects from such a measure being put into effect. To do otherwise is a betrayal of trust, a betrayal of the rights of the people as well as a betrayal of right reason.


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