Israeli Fluoridation Promoters Whitewash Scientific Uncertainty
(It Happens in the US, Also)
Israeli fluoridation proponents misled legislators and the public about the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation in order to preserve a country-wide fluoridation mandate, reports two Israeli researchers in the Journal of Risk Research (August 2016) after they reviewed government documents and newspaper reports.
Anat Gesser-Edelsburg, PhD, Head of Health Promotion Department, School of Public Health, University of Haifa, and Dr. Yaffa Shir-Raz report that “In this study, we argue that the policy makers themselves …[carry] out what they accuse others [fluoridation opposers] of doing. They share only partial, biased information in order to support their case, and convey information in terms that misrepresent the actual situation.”
Fluoride chemicals added to public water supplies, touted by fluoridationists as a conclusively-proven safe and effective tooth decay preventive, is shown to be the opposite in many scientific reports and government documents. Fluoridation has been doubted by respected scientists and physicians since its US birth, in 1945.
“Despite the uncertainty surrounding the questions of [fluoridation] safety and efficacy, [Israeli] health policy-makers and health officials not only characterize the science regarding fluoridation as providing ‘certainty,’ but use decisive and definitive terms, such as ‘unequivocal’ and ‘undisputed,’ to stress that ‘certainty,’” report Gesser-Edelsburg and Shir-Raz.
This Israeli research team doesn’t come out for or against fluoridation but says, despite claims to the contrary, uncertainty does exist. They argue that the public can handle the truth and make appropriate decisions based on all information, both positive and negative towards fluoridation.
Gesser-Edelsburg and Shir-Raz explain that some studies, including recent ones, show no benefit from fluoridation; some even report adverse effects and that those studies were ignored by officials who mandated fluoridation in Israel.
They add, “A Cochrane systematic review (2015) “concluded that there is very little updated and high-quality evidence indicating that fluoridation reduces dental caries, while there is significant association between fluoride levels and dental fluorosis.” Dental fluorosis (discolored teeth) occurs when too much fluoride is ingested while teeth are forming.
Critics of Gesser-Edelsburg and Shir Raz’s conclusion claim that dental fluorosis is “often not even considered to be undesirable.” However, writing in the New York State Dental Journal, Dincer reports “Such changes in the tooth’s appearance can affect the child’s self-esteem…”
Furthermore, fluorosis has created a lucrative new market for dentists – covering up fluorosed teeth as these before and after dentist photos show.
More distressing is that today’s fluoridationists attempt to pick apart any study not faithful to fluoridation, (including this Journal of Risk Research article) but they never dissect any study glorifying fluoridation – even though the early fluoridation experiments, conducted in several cities, have been thoroughly discredited scientifically but still form the basis for the entire fluoridation program world-wide.
Gesser-Edelsburg and Shir-Raz write, “Even in the rare instances in which scientific sources such as the YORK and the NRC reports are mentioned, the reports are cited selectively, eliminating the uncertainty they expressed…the bottom line emerging from all three is that there is uncertainty surrounding both the safety and the efficacy of fluoridation.”
“Despite this uncertainty, [Israeli] dental health policy-makers and health officials continue to communicate it as a safe and effective intervention, and actively promote policies to implement it,” they report.
These Israel researchers are not alone in their criticism. From the outset, fluoridation was criticized in the US by respected scientists and physicians, (i.e., Waldbott, Rorty). It persists today, i.e. Legal Scholar Rita Barnett-Rose; Historian Catherine Carstairs, Phd; Scientific American; Chemical & Engineering News. In fact, US public health bureaucrats have a habit of ignoring their own evidence that’s even mildly critical of fluoridation i.e. New York State Department of Health and Virginia Department of Health.
Voices of opposition have been suppressed since the early days of fluoridation
Readers are left to determine their own conclusions about why fluoridation has become a sacred cow in the face of strong scientific evidence that it’s a failed concept at worst and uncertain at least.
Gesser-Edelsburg and Shir-Raz write:“Perhaps the most interesting example of a study that was ignored is the survey commissioned by the [Israeli] Ministry of Health itself. Although Health Ministry officials were aware of the findings, they chose to ignore it in their arguments…on several occasions; policy-makers and health professionals explicitly deny that such studies exist.”
Instead of truthfully explaining that some studies support fluoridation while others don’t, they presented a consolidated and simplified “cooked” version.
The Ministry of Health appointed an expert committee (the Adin Committee), which at the end of 2006 voted to halt mandatory fluoridation in Israel and leave the decision to each local authority.
Gesser-Edelsburg and Shir-Raz write: “According to Prof. Avner Adin, the committee chair and world-renowned water expert, the decision was based on two central considerations. First, the paucity and inconclusiveness characterizing all studies on the health effects of fluoridation; and second, the reports indicating that, over the years, cases of caries decreased at a similar rate both in fluoridating and in non-fluoridating countries.”
Instead of following the advice of its own expert Committee comprised of chemists, toxicologists, and water experts, the Ministry of Health consulted public health officials and dentists who urged continuation of mandatory fluoridation.
In 2014, new Health Minister, Yael German, ended fluoridation based on the Adin Committee’s recommendation. But, in 2015, German was replaced by Yaakov Litzman, who revoked her decision.
In March 2016, arguments for and against fluoridation were presented in the Knesset (Israel’s governing body). After hearing valid testimony from experts opposing fluoridation the Ministry of Health officials said that among professionals there is no controversy on the issue, report the Israeli researchers. Although expressing reservations that they were unqualified to decide this issue, Knesset committee members voted to approve restoration of mandatory fluoridation in Israel.
PR Spin Favorable to Fluoridation Began in 1951 in the US
Attendees of a 1951 Dental Directors’ meeting were taught how to “sell’ fluoridation avoiding these words: toxic, artificial, experiment and sodium fluoride because “that is rat poison.”
Today’s US Dental Directors spread similar false information by including dubious documents on the website of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors which denigrate the opposition, personally, rather than the science.
Hired US PR agencies and individuals (some call them liars for hire) continue the pattern of misinformation, misdirection and indoctrination of falsehoods. For example, fluoridationists are taught to avoid talking about risks because then “opponents are likely to win.” (slide 18)