, 10 September 2016, Tags:
There was a workshop at the autumn 2016 Conference where it was clear that members needed more information on why the Green Party opposes water fluoridation. This is an important policy as this is a major pollutant with serious, sometimes deadly, health effects and a large number of people are being forced to drink water laced with a known toxin, fluoride.
The average intelligent person who has not researched this tends to think that water fluoridation is OK or even good because it has been around for a long time, there are no health dangers and people have heard the pro-fluoride propaganda. Below I will seek to give you a taste of the science, how we won a massive local campaign in Southampton, and hopefully motivate you to do something about it if you live in a fluoridated area. This is an excellent campaign to take up.
Twelve years ago I thought that water fluoridation was probably a ‘good thing’. However the local Strategic Health Authority (SHA) announced that they intended to fluoridate much of Southampton where I live and I was asked by an activist friend to look into the science. What I discovered was deeply shocking. So much so that I helped to form Hampshire Against Fluoridation and was Chair of that group for most of the next eight years until we finally won what had grown into a colossal local campaign.
The water fluoridation proposal by law had to go to a Public Consultation and we made representations to the SHA that this had to be done properly. To be fair the SHA did alter their very biased initial question linking water fluoridation to dental health benefits and instead put out a neutral question about whether people were in favour of water fluoridation or not. However, from then on the health establishment fought a very dirty campaign. They started with a thoroughly biased and scientifically wrong ‘Consultation Document’ (criticised by Lord Baldwin1 and others). This was touted extensively around the city in a roving campaign bus and at fixed presentations in key city locations.
The local Health Authorities also played dirty by sending postcards to every affected household with a box to tick saying that they supported water fluoridation. Postage was paid so all anyone needed to do was put their name and address on the card, tick the one box and post it. There was no option offered to say that they did NOT support water fluoridation.
The Health Authorities probably spent upwards of half a million pounds on the campaign whilst Hampshire Against Fluoridation (HAF) had to raise all our funds ourselves, which in total probably came to less than £5,000. The health authorities were joined by many professional and health bodies funded by government to support their case and they put their full weight against us. Clearly the odds were heavily stacked against HAF. It was miles away from being a fair Public Consultation.
So who do you think won the referendum? HAF did! We WON. 72% of those who voted in the Local Referendum opposed water fluoridation. It was a stunning victory.
How on earth did we win with the whole structure of government and their masses of money, their media tricks and supposed expertise all ranged against us?
Well we gathered a lot of members from across the political spectrum and used social media a lot. We also did things like take a large petition to London. One point of note is that much of the print, TV and radio media were very open to covering what we did, with the notable exception of the BBC. The BBC acted like the mouthpiece of government, taking lots of the biased authority supplied footage and mainly ignoring HAF. ITV gave HAF excellent coverage and did things like come with us on the train to No 10 for the petition and when the case went to Court. Other channels were more or less absent, although a German channel did cover us.
We always argued on a solid scientific basis. People thought that the SHA would know the science best but they were shown again and again to be spinning the science. Shockingly to me, the Health Authorities seemed highly ignorant of the research. I can only think that this was due to the blinkers put on the whole health establishment due to a parliamentary vote in favour of fluoridation many years ago (more of that below). HAF worked with top scientists and Professors from around the world many of whom publicly came out to support our case, including many who had done research in the area. We even had Dr Arvid Carlsson, a Nobel Prize winner in medicine from Sweden who wrote in to support us. We also had strong support from Professor Connett, an absolute hero, who flew in from North America several times to support HAF and to speak to our largest meetings.
The SHA also set up ‘consultation’ question and answer sessions where they allowed us to be present the opposing case on the podium. We wiped the floor with them scientifically. The Department of Health kept sending top Dentists to argue their case who knew very little about non-teeth matters. This was despite the fact that we repeatedly argued that the main health issues were not just around teeth, but in the rest of the body. If you drink fluoride it affects the whole body, not just the teeth.
The most important Professor to join our cause was Professor Peckham who, luckily for us, lived in Southampton at the time. He made sure that everything we said had scientific backing and we never exaggerated. The science is so scary by itself that there is no need to exaggerate. He even took over from me as Chairperson of HAF for a while. As time went by we developed more credibility on this issue than the SHA. We were shown to be right and the SHA claims were often shown to be scientifically unsupportable and clear spin.
Pro fluoridation science is biased and of poor quality. That is not just me saying that, the major Department of Health funded York review in 2000 said as much. Initial studies were done by the fluoride industry and were far from independent. Later studies did not verify the supposed benefits. There are three main benefits claimed by the pro-fluoridation lobby are:
Professor Sushila flew in from India to speak to the Department of Health on the dangers of water fluoridation that she had found. It is well known that some areas of India have so bad fluoride poisoning that children grow up with hideously deformed limbs. It has always been argued that whilst this is well known, lower doses should be safe. Not so. Professor Sushila showed that lower levels, equivalent to what was proposed to be added to our drinking water supply led to serious damage to the gut flora, sometimes resulting in IBS or similar symptoms and seriously inhibiting the effects of many enzymes.
This chimed with the fact that the Netherlands has banned water fluoridation on the basis that it increased allergies and a lot of people are allergic to it (but people often do not realise the cause). Incidentally most of Europe has looked into water fluoridation and refused to contemplate it either due to its danger, or due to the immorality of forcing people to drink it in their water supply. A few places tried water fluoridation and abandoned it.
However the intestinal disruption due to water fluoridation is just the start of its effect. It also:
This comes on to the big point that a lot of what I have described above is epidemiological evidence and those in favour of fluoride correctly say that association does not prove causation. However it makes it highly likely to be the cause when it is found repeatedly so many times and the Precautionary Principle should be followed. Pro fluoride people say that opposition must go through ‘gold standard’ science that proves that fluoride is the cause (whilst at the same time refusing to prove its safety).
The problem is that ‘gold standard’ means human experiments using a double blind watertight methodology. This is not possible for two reasons:
So what can be done? Animal experiments, and we all know the problems with these. Nevertheless literally hundreds of experiments have been carried out on animals that demonstrate serious harm to animals when dosed with fluoride at the levels humans get exposed to in fluoridated areas.
Dr Mullenix showed that the brain was damaged18. Interestingly people in her laboratory tried to suppress her very valid and well run research. We assume that this was done as the laboratory where she worked was funded by a toothpaste manufacturer and they were only supposed to publish research in favour of fluoride. When the research did come out she lost her job. The question is how many valid research studies have been supressed successfully by the industry.
Therefore the pro fluoride people can still say that epidemiology is not proof and animal studies are not proof. So their favourite saying is that there is ‘no proof’ of harm. Interestingly the SHA stopped saying to us that there was no evidence of harm when we provided them with hundreds of high quality studies demonstrating harm. Instead they moved to the ‘no proof’ mantra. So the science continues to pile up massively around them and eventually it will fall in on them whilst they still spin the pro-fluoride ‘science’ and mouth ‘no proof of harm’. This was the cigarette argument, the lead in petrol argument, and it took much too long before these massive health dangers were addressed.
Why did the SHA, who are meant to be evidence based health professionals, take this position? For that you have to understand the history and how government works in Britain.
Back in the 1960s there was little scientific evidence apart from that produced by the fluoride industry, which we now know to have been biased and low quality, i.e. highly unreliable. The fertiliser industry, which produces the fluoride toxins, heavily lobbied politicians. Millions of pounds a year of profit were at stake. As there was no-one arguing the opposite case and the science was not clear that it was harmful, plus it seemed like a quick ‘techno-fix’ to bad teeth, the government supported water fluoridation. It quickly started in places like Newcastle, Birmingham and the West Midlands.
This political decision meant that water fluoridation was government policy and all government departments had to support it, including and especially the Department of Health. Job descriptions included that the post holder would ‘support water fluoridation’. All the subsidiary bodies were required to support water fluoridation. So every government department, every QUANGO, every organisation with government funding had to, and has to, support water fluoridation. A large number of these organisations were wheeled out in Southampton to support the SHA, all using exactly the same arguments as described above. The felt obliged to do this. If they do not then they risked disciplinary or financial measures for not following government policy. That is the way the government bodies, and indeed government employees, are made to toe the line in the UK.
So this also flows down to places like the SHA. The SHA have not looked seriously at the research basis as they rely on the policy and instructions from the Department of Health. If the Department of Health policy is to fluoridate water as there is ‘no proof’ of harm’, then that is it as far as the SHA is concerned. Evidence to the contrary was ignored, partly because there was so much of it that they decided not to go through it (yes, they admitted that they did not read our evidence).
Furthermore when the people of Southampton voted by 72% to oppose water fluoridation, the SHA ignored the position that they would listen to local democracy and decided to go ahead anyway. So much for local democracy - and so much for Public Consultation - it was all a complete sham. It seems that if public consultation does not give the result they had campaigned so hard, so expensively and so dirtily to achieve, then they would ignore it. This again seems to be a recurring theme in other formal Public Consultations.
However HAF still won and we cracked open the champagne. There was uproar in Southampton and the local press took it up, with over 95% of letters sent to the Echo, the local paper, outraged by the SHA’s actions. However the SHA did not seem to care about public opinion and sailed on, ignoring the people they were meant to be serving. They seemed to be a law unto themselves and would not be moved. Again, this is apparently a far too common theme.
All this deeply damaged the reputation of the Health Authorities in Southampton. We cheered when the SHA was abolished. It also meant that water fluoridation was quietly dropped and Southampton remains free of the fluoride poison, at least for a while. We suspect that the Health Authorities are prospecting for more compliant victims now. Softening you up follows a standard planned pattern.
Sadly water fluoridation is still in place in around 10% of Britain. It is high time that local Green Parties in these areas picked up the ‘stop water fluoridation’ banner. You may not think that you personally are damaged by the fluoride (yet), but it is building up inside you all the time and you risk level of serious health problems in later life is significantly higher.
There is a health scandal waiting to be uncovered in your area. Get hold of the data using carefully focussed freedom of information queries. When you find elevated levels in your areas of what is affected by fluoride do not accept the standard explanation that it could be down to several factors. A BIG factor is water fluoridation. If the science is right this is affecting people’s health very badly and it is a matter of looking for that in the statistics. We need to demonstrate this convincingly to the people in your area.
The science is saying that people are dying, and we are not talking about small numbers. If the cancer correlation is due to fluoride then it is thousands of people per year in the UK.
Show how people have been hoodwinked for years and the evidence has been ignored by the authorities. You can win, you can gain enormous credibility, but do it based on good science and not on scare mongering. As I said before, the science is scary enough and you do not need to exaggerate.
Southampton and District Green Party
Ex-Chairperson of Hampshire Against Fluoridation
Note that I have only included sources relating directly to the above. This is not intended as an exhaustive list. If all the good quality scientific study references were added this would cover many pages.
Check out www.segreens.org.uk for all Regional News.
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