GUEST BLOG: Ken Perrott – Anti-fluoride activists target councils – and scientists


Are ducks somehow connected to the anti-fluoridation  movement? Sure – they do have unsinkable rubber ducks in common. But I am thinking of how media coverage of anti-fluoridation activity and the opening of the duck shooting season peaks annually about May.

The seasonal airing of the fluoridation issue is directly connected to council timetables. Councils consider and decide on their draft annual plans about that time. And of course anti-fluoridation activists take advantage of this to make large numbers of submissions and to dominate council hearings on the plans. That’s not to say these activists are inactive the rest of the year. There are submissions to prepare, supporters to mobilise and the never-ending promotion of their unsinkable rubber ducks – misinformation about fluoride.

Anti-fluoride activists have become council “groupies.” They are familiar with council planning and conscious of any opportunity to present their case. Aware that numbers can impress councillors they help supporters with submission templates (templates ABCD, were used in Hamilton) and submission guides. In contrast the ordinary citizen is rarely conscious of what is going on in their council. For example, the first most Hamiltonians heard of the “Fluoride Tribunal” organised by the Hamilton City Council last year was a news report of the council vote to stop fluoridation!

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 4.24.37 pm

A group of anti-fluoride council groupies after harassing the Wellington Regional Council this year. Credit: Fluoride Free Wellington

As for making oral submissions – most of us have to work during the day but it seems the many of the anti-fluoridation activists have the luxury of self-employment or jobs providing plenty of free time for activism. Many submitters seem to be in the “natural” or “alternative” health industry – naturopaths, homeopaths,  craniosacral and neuromuscular practitioners, meridian kinesiology therapists, etc. – which seems to provide plenty of time and ideological committment for their activism.

Currently the anti-fluoride organisations aim to get councils to hold tribunal-type hearings and they argue strongly against democratic involvement of citizens via referenda. This tactic was very successful last year when a one-sided tribunal effectively captured the Hamilton City Council leading to a decision to stop fluoridation. A citizen backlash led to a referendum which confirmed overwhelming support for fluoridation and the Council reversed their decision.  Anti-fluoridation groups have responded by using legal action to delay the return of fluoridation. They have yet to win a legal victory but seem to have enough finance from the “natural” health industry to use appeals to delay decisions (see Who is funding anti-fluoridation High Court action?)

What a difference a year makes?

TDB Recommends

Ironically, the very success of the anti-fluoride groups in Hamilton and news coverage of their success seems to now be undermining their current activity. Citizens are becoming becoming more aware of their tactics and the fact their propaganda misrepresents the fluoride situation.

Whereas last year anti-fluoride activist submissions dominated the Hamilton fluoride tribunal, pro-fluoride submissions to the Kapiti District Council this year were the majority and many of these seem motivated by concern about activists misrepresenting fluoridation (see Water Management/Water Supply/Fluoridation WPR – General for a summary of the Kapiti submissions).

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 4.25.36 pm

This may be why the Kapiti District Council this year voted to keep fluoridation by 8 votes to 2 – last year the vote was 5 to 5.

An encouraging trend but there is a lesson here. Supporters of evidence-based health policies need to be more conscious of what the “natural” and “alternative” health industry and activists are up to. Perhaps there is even need for evidence-based health activism  – groups which can maintain awareness of what is happening and more effectively counter the propaganda of the anti-evidence-based activists.

NZ study upsets anti-fluoridationists

Another reason for recent media attention has been the publication of a New Zealand study checking for a relationship between fluoridation and child IQ. Mind you, the fact of the publication was not the main reason for attention. More media coverage was obtained by anti-fluoridation activists (in NZ and the USA) attacking the publication. Some of those attacks on social  media have been nothing less than defamatory.

For several years now anti-fluoride propagandists have been promoting the myth that fluoridation lowers child IQ relying mainly on a review of poor quality research in China, India and Iran. This year essentially the same authors cited themselves in another review (see Quality and selection counts in fluoride research and Repeating bad science on fluoride for analyses of these papers and the work they rely on).   Because some of the authors were associated with the Harvard School of Public Health, and the second review was published in The Lancet, these propagandists have resorted to the “authority fallacy” and swamped social media with headlines like:

“Havard Study confirms Fluoride Reduces Children’s IQ”
“Impact of Fluoride on Neurological Development in Children”

The headlines are often simply linked to, or sourced from, “alternative” or “natural” health magazines and websites, known “woo” experts like Joseph Mercola, or quack organisations like the International Academy of Oral medicine and Toxicology. The activist’s version of this story has been fed to scientifically naive councillors via large numbers of submissions “prepared” by people who have not even read, let alone critically and intelligently assessed, the original papers.

New Zealand research on fluoride and IQ

Expert consensus is that this Harvard review is irrelevant to the debate because it considered concentrations well above those optimum for fluoridation and did not consider confounding effects like education, breast-feeding, social economic position, etc. In contrast, the NZ work looked at the influence of these confounders using data from the internationally acclaimedDunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study.

The New Zealand study found no significant differences in IQ because of fluoride exposure (fluoride tablets and toothpaste were also considered). However, childhood socioeconomic status, breastfeeding, low birth weight  – confounding factors not considered in the work reviewed by the Havard group – were associated with childhood IQ.

Association of educational attainment with adult IQ was also statistically significant. Interestingly, adult IQ was higher for people exposed to community water fluoridation long-term  than those not – a direct opposite to what the anti-fluoride people argue. The authors, though, warn against arguing such a positive effect for fluoride – again because of confounders:

“This may be due to better educational opportunities for those who resided in the fluoridated city of Dunedin over the long-term than those who did not.”

Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 4.26.23 pm

Graphic credit: Chris Price.

So, it is very likely that any relationship between fluoride in drinking water and IQ reported in the poor quality studies reviewed by the Havard group resulted from confounding factors that weren’t considered – at least at the lower fluoride concentrations. Because many of those studies involved high fluoride areas were severe dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorsis is common there is always the possibility that these diseases produce learning difficulties influencing IQ. I imagine poor teeth, whether due to bad decay or severe fluorosis, make learning difficult for children (see Confirmation blindness on the fluoride-IQ issue). Poor oral health is likely to inhibit learning with New Zealand children but severe dental fluorosis is not caused by fluoridation and is not an issue in this country.


The fluoridation controversy in recent years shows how scientifically naive councillors and local body staff can be exploited by ideological motivated activists. On the one hand this demonstrates the need for supporters of evidence-based health to be more attentive to local body politics and more active on countering such exploitation. On the other hand councils seem to recognise they do not have the skills required to consider such issues and are appealing for central government to take on responsibility for fluoridation decisions. Given the attitude of the present government councils are unlikely to get their wish soon. Perhaps they should recognise the responsibilities they currently have and take steps to ensure more rational consideration of this issue in future.

In my view the authors of the Otago study made an important comment on the implications of their work. They concluded their paper with:

“Substantive research and quality data are required for addressing important public health issues. In New Zealand, it has been recommended that New Zealand government departments should employ a designated research-literate staff expert to interpret science for the benefit of politicians and our study suggests that local government organizations could benefit from the same. Scientists and policy makers should be reminded of the necessity of caution in attributing causality when evidence for it does not exist.”

Note: For readers wishing to read the original reports of the New Zealand fluoride/IQ research there are current 2 papers published:

Broadbent, J. M., Thomson, W. M., Ramrakha, S., Moffitt, T. E., Zeng, J., Foster Page, L. A., & Poulton, R. (2014). Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence: Prospective Study in New Zealand. American Journal of Public Health, e1–e5. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301857

Broadbent, J., Moffitt, T. E., Thomson, W., Ramrakha, S., & Poulton, R. (2014). Community Water Fluoridation and Intelligence Quotient. 26th APS Annual Convention Program Book.



Ken Perrott is the respected editor of very excellent open parachute on SciBlog. Sciblogs is an initiative of the Science Media Centre, an independent source of expert comment and information for journalists covering science and technology in New Zealand.


  1. 700T per year of Hydrofluorosilicic Acid is carefully dumped into Auckland’s drinking water. By law you cannot dump Hydrofluorosilicic Acid into the Rivers, Sea or Ground yet Auckland Council adds it to our drinking water. It comes from the smokes stacks of the fertiliser Industry collecting two toxic gases in the wet scrubbing system.

    I graduated from Waikato University and I am appalled that the so called educators at the Chemistry department promote this obsolete practice.

          • The reader votes (up/down) took a sudden and sizeable swing from evidence based position toward the anti-fluoridation position during the evening of 11 June.

            Later than expected, but still expected.

            This also occurred in John Minto’s essay on fluoridation here a month or two back. In that case, it coincided with a call to down-vote pro-fluoridation comment. A call made on the local cranks’ facebook anti-fluoridation site. The evidence for which was hastily deleted once attention was drawn to it here.

            It appears to be a full-time obsession for some.

            • This is such an emotional and ideologically driven issue. There is insufficient good quality research to suggest if water flouridation is either beneficial or detrimental. So to come out strongly for or against – based on physical implications of flouridition is naive. I am politically on the left and I would love to see dental health equality across society. One thing that often gets lost in this debate is that water flouridation is another example of the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach to social welfare. A simple, supposedly, quick fix which enables us to not address the wider issues behind social inequality.

              • I disagree, Raymondo. Health authorities do not see fluoridation as a magic bullet – just an effective and safe health policy beneficial to oral health. That does not stop them for all the other activities they put Ito improvising our oral health at all.

                Fluoridation does have some attributes which make it ideal for a social policy not relying on individual action or awareness.

              • Raymond

                First of all, you are obviously unaware of the overwhelming amount of valid, peer-reviewed scientific evidence which clearly supports the public health initiative of water fluoridation, and of the total lack of valid evidence against it. One must understand the difference between the “pseudoscience” and unsubstantiated claims put forth by fluoridation opponents, versus the valid scientific evidence clearly supporting fluoridation, in order to understand that there is no “controversy” on this issue. There is simply a very beneficial public health initiative, supported by the overwhelming consensus of the worldwide body of respected science and healthcare…which is constantly smeared by activist zealots who have used the same tactics and the same unsubstantiated claims utilized by such activists dating back to the ultra conservative paranoia of the John Birch Society at the very beginning of fluoridation.

                Fluoridation has never been utilized as a “quick fix”, nor envisioned as being such by those who properly understand this initiative. We have, in the United States, New Zealand, and most every other country, an overwhelming crisis with untreated dental disease. Those of us who have provided for the underserved our entire careers need all the help we can get to battle the extreme pain, debilitation, and life-threatening infection resultant of untreated dental decay, that is rampant everywhere.

                The naivety of which you speak is the attempt to apply simplistic “solutions” to such a highly complex problem. Claims that people simply need to brush their teeth more, stop eating sugar, better supervise their children, etc. are examples of the real naivety, as is the implication that dental professionals view fluoridation as a “cure-all” which eliminates the need of all other preventive measures.

                Water fluoridation has been clearly demonstrated to be a very valuable dental decay preventive measure, with no proven adverse effects in its entire 69 year history. However, it is but one of many preventive measures which we utilize and which we need in order to make any inroads into this problem. To assume that fluoridation is the one and only preventive measure for which dental professionals advocate, or that the dental profession is somehow overlooking the need for all other effective decay measures is indicative of a lack of understanding of the problem and the efforts constantly employed to deal with it.

                Steven D. Slott, DDS

              • There is insufficient good quality research to suggest if water flouridation is either beneficial or detrimental.

                More inane assertion.
                How do you know? Have you looked? Are you trained in epidemiology or public health?

                Odd that the US Surgeon General, NZ Ministry of Health, The Royal Society NZ and every medical and dental community worldwide say otherwise.

                Name one medical, scientific, dental or public health community/authority that asserts your position.

    • errmmm by graduate don’t you mean law school drop out? Popping into Mcdonalds when you were supposed to learning does not constitute learning Kane.

      • It was Carl’s Junior actually. I was proudly the first person in Hamilton to be served. I even got my picture in the paper. How proud I was.

        • I suppose you habitually have a large Coke with your nutritional meal as well….and now, it seems, you question fluoridation as you reflect on your mouth full of fillings.


          • I sure did. I asked for a super large.

            The burger was great. “It is artery thickening, it’s going to hit my cholesterol, it’s not good for me … but the taste is phenomenal.”

  2. At first, I thought this was a complaint about the Council’s consultation process. But it morphed into something else…

    Going on about a particular case of discredited research (a new area of research into negative health effects) is a bit of a Trojan Horse.

    Calling the anti-fluoridation faction “ideologodically-motivated activists” (in contract to “supporters of evidence-based health”) is a Straw Man type of simplification.

    A massive amount of research has been done that demonstrates the toxicity of fluoride and systemic adverse effects (eg, muscle, kidneys). So much that you could not possibly miss it or discount it, if you had an open mind. (See, for example, the affadavit of a researcher in this field, who has spent more than 20 years developing knowledge scientifically:

    Lastly, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that Council has not taken “rational consideration of the issue” here.

    • Calling the anti-fluoridation faction “ideologodically-motivated activists” (in contract to “supporters of evidence-based health”) is a Straw Man type of simplification.

      You don’t appear to have researched this debate much. Even a cursory browse of anti fluoridation activist websites will illustrate the accuracy of the description. It’s science denial, scientific illiteracy and conspiracy thinking, firmly in the company of climate change deniers, anti vaccination, chem trail loons and similar movements. They use the same tactics and methodology – start with a preconceived agenda, grasp at any evidence that might remotely support it and ignore the vast and overwhelming bulk of high quality evidence that refutes their position. They repeat cannards ad nauseum and create networks of gullible activists to repeat the never ending stream of PRATTs that are fed to them.

      A massive amount of research has been done that demonstrates the toxicity of fluoride and systemic adverse effects blah blah blah

      Yet not enough to convince even a single scientific, medical. public health or dental community on the planet to dispute the scientific consensus that community water fluoridation has a safe and beneficial role as a public health initiative. Have you ever wondered why or considered the implications of your statement given the observation I make?

      The medical community are not out to poison you. They take these issues seriously. Really. They do. Extensive research has been undertaken in this area over seventy years. The scientific consensus hasn’t budged, why? – because the evidence, the scientific evidence, shows none of the claimed risks health that are claimed by anti fluoridation organisations.

        • I guess readers should develop the skills to filter out the good from the crap and make an intelligent assessment of the likely situation. Ben is of course entitled to his opinion but I believe he overstates it without providing reasonable supporting evidence. I base that assessment on having read much of the material myself rather than blind devotion to a public figure – even if I respect many if his other claims.

        • Raymondo

          That you consider the peer- reviewed science clearly supporting water fluoridation to be “crap research” is evidence of your own lack of understanding of science and scientific method.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

          • Sow me one Randomised Control Trial. Just one. Not very demanding am I ? Your answer will be that it’s too difficult. Seriously Dr Slott ? – too difficult. More likely fear of what the results will be. I’m afraid the Emperor has no clothes.

            • Here we go, more copy paste of science denial talking points by an anonymous internet expert nobody.

              Do you even know what RCT is? or the ethical issues surrounding such a trial in the health field?.

              Perhaps you’d care to enlighten us.

            • Shane

              It’s highly doubtful that you even know what a “Randomised Control Trial” is, much less have any understanding of the necessity, or value of it in regard to water fluoridation.

              High quality, peer-reviewed observational studies, such as those demonstrating the effectiveness of fluoridation, are entirely acceptable in respected science and healthcare.

              That you think it sounds impressive when you copy/paste the RCT blurb from antifluoridationist websites……is meaningless.

              Steven D. SloTT, DDS

        • Raymondo has found a scientist to quote.
          But that’s not how science arrives at a consensus Raymondo.
          (nor does the quote even support the assertion made in your first sentence)

    • JEM

      Please properly cite the “massive amount of research that demonstrates the toxicity of fluoride….”. Bear in mind that water is fluoridated at 0.7 ppm, so let’s stick to only the “massive amount of research” that is relevant to fluoride at that concentration level. Also bear in mind that filtered and edited “information” found on antifluoridationist websites and blogs has no validity. So, let’s stick to citing reliable, respected, and primary sources of information, only.

      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Like most fluoridationists you don’t understand the difference between concentration and dose. While you can control the concentration you can’t control how much people drink, get from other sources and excrete. As Dr Arvid Carrlson (winner of Nobel prize in Medicine) said ” Fluoridation is against all principles of modern Phamacology”. That’s because you can’t control the dose people get. The New Zealand ESR (Environmental and Scientific Research Society) has confirmed that bottle fed babies exceed the upper limit of fluoride intake. Ever since fluoridation began people have experienced side effects from fluoridation as documented by Dr Grimbergen and Feltman and Kosel, D Waldbott and Dr Spittle. Hope this helps.

        • Shane…..seriously?

          You honestly think that the worldwide body of respected science and healthcare does not understand the elementary concept of dose versus concentration? This is simply one more example of an antifluoridationist believing that he is privy to some “new” information of which the rest of the world is mysteriously unaware.

          Okay, obviously you have no understanding of dose versus concentration in regard to water fluoridation, so let me educate you a bit….

          Simply put, water is fluoridated at 0.7 mg/liter (ppm=mg/liter). Thus, for every liter of fluoridated water consumed, the “dose” of fluoride intake is 0.7 mg. The average daily water consumption by an adult is 2-3 liters per day. So, let’s go to an extreme and double that to an excessive 6 liters of fluoridated water consumption per day. This translates to 4.2 mg “dose” of fluoride intake per day from the water. The CDC estimates that of the total daily intake, or “dose”, of fluoride from all sources including dental products, 75% is from the water. Thus as 4.2 mg is 75% if the total daily intake from all sources, the total daily intake, or “dose” from all sources would be 5.6 mg for an individual who consumed an excessive 6 liters of fluoridated water per day. 

          The Institute of Medicine has established that the daily upper limit for fluoride intake from all sources, for adults, before adverse effects will occur, short or long term, is 10 mg. Thus, even the excessive 6 liter per day consumer of water will still only take in a daily “dose” of fluoride that is slightly more than half the upper limit before adverse effects.

          The range of safety between the miniscule few parts per million fluoride that are added to existing fluoride levels in your water, is so wide that “dose” is not an issue. Before the UL of 10 mg could be reached, water toxicity would be the concern, not fluoride.

          Steven D. Slott, DDS

          • Hopelessly incorrect Steve. In any population group there are those that can tolerate large amounts of a toxin. Then there are those who can’t even tolerate small amounts. Most people are average. Now even if only 1 % of the population experiences clinical symptoms of fluorides toxic effects then that would be 44,000 people in a population the size of new Zealand or over 3 million in the USA. It is therefore unethical to harm some with a treatment that “may ” help others. I say “may” as the largest study in the USA found no statistically significant difference between fluoridated and non-fluoridated communities. Dr Hardy Limeback a PhD Dentist in Canada has apologized for promoting fluoridation in the past. This is starting to become an avalanche as dentists discover the truth bout fluoridation.

            • Shane, the subject you reply to is dose vs concentration.

              Out of hand you dismiss Dr Slott’s careful explanation and then try to justify it by arguing about a different topic, that of tolerance of fluoride across a population.

              Fail (and you keep racking failures up, as those who read further comments below will observe).

    • JEM – You do nothnign to justify any of your claims. And, no, it is not relevant to quote research into skeletal fluorosis and severe dental fluorsis as these compalinst are not related to fluoridation. They occur at much higher concentrations of fluoride.

      I do not accept your characterisation of my contrasting “ideologically motivated activists” with “supporters if evidence-based health.” Look at the comment by Trevor Crosbie below. He attacks an evidence based scientific paper from New Zealand by making weird allegations about smoking – completley unrelated to fluoridation. He is ideologically moticated so does not care about the facts. He is so motivated he is probbaly receiving funding from the NZ Health Trust (the lobby group for the NZ “natural” health industry) for legal action against the Hamilton City Coiuncil in an attempt to prevent it from carrying out its fluoridation policy based on the support of its electorate. (See Who is funding anti-fluoridation High Court action? –

      There is a massive ammount of research on fluoride and fluoridation and like anything in science it require intelligent and critical rewading to understand. Councils are usually not equiped for this. And this was painfully obvious in Hamilton where the Council initially drew conclusions which were not rational. Because they had been pressured by ideologically motivated activists.

      • Purrty please, can I quote you?

        I do not accept your characterisation of my contrasting “ideologically motivated activists” with “supporters if evidence-based health.

        O dear what shall we do? JEM: 1; Opposition: 0

    • “could not possibly miss it” – yes scientists even defended thalidomide when the first birth defects came to light. They denied that thalidomide was the cause. Lead was vigorously defended even when the studies showed it to be dangerous. History just keeps repeating itself.

      “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.” – Tolstoy

      • yes scientists even defended thalidomide when the first birth defects came to light. They denied that thalidomide was the cause.

        Shane, you really have no clue as to how science works. What any individual scientist says or believes is of little consequence.

        Individual scientists get things wrong all the time. Individual scientists also get things right all the time. What a scientist believes is not important to the consensual position of the state of scientific understanding at any time.

        If we are to take any meaning from your, claim (sans citation) we would need to know which, if any, scientists “denied that thalidomide was the cause”. Who and what they said.

        There is a world of difference between general scientific consensus on the safety and efficacy of fluoridation of water and any single scientist’s or scientific group’s statement made about Thalidomide. Nor are a drug company’s claims representative of a scientific consensus.

        This is because no claim from any scientist is accepted by other scientists without supporting evidence. I suspect that your claim is simply untrue. For scientists to have made such a definitive statement in regard to Thalidomide they would have been required to present evidence. That would have necessitated specific fraudulent claims. However you may correct me by citing a source showing that scientists made such a claim. I’ll not hold my breath.

        In the case of Thalidomide the debacle exposed a failure of existing systems. In one instance, it was a case of the success of the system as in the USA the drug was refused permission by the FDA to be marketed because they required further studies.

        In short, provide a citation for your claim and argument that the cases are analogous.

        • lol The scientific consensus was that lead, asbestos, DDT were safe. Government scientific and medical organizations swore blue that everything was fine. Well we know what happened. I’m afraid your attempt at at an argument has no credibility. The facts and history are there plain to see. Blind Freddy can see that.

          • Blind Freddy can see that.

            Yet, you can’t find primary source citations to show it.
            Oh woe be your research skills… or not.

            So no citation then, just more assertion. Repeating what you’ve been fed.

    • A massive amount of research has been done that demonstrates the toxicity of fluoride and systemic adverse effects (eg, muscle, kidneys). So much that you could not possibly miss it or discount it, if you had an open mind. (See, for example, the affadavit of a researcher in this field, who has spent more than 20 years developing knowledge scientifically:

      Jem, one affidavit does not constitute “A massive amount of research”.

      Plus, an affidavit isn’t research. It’s simply one person attesting that a document they signed is true. If I made an affidavit that I witnessed a flying saucer landing and the occupants emerging and conducting sample-taking, would you believe it?

      (By the way, they were nice folk and enjoy our “Shortland Street”, even if it does arrive 4.25 years too late at their homeworld.)

  3. Kane, the educators in the chemistry department promote the public health initiative of water fluoridation because they understand the peer-reviewed science and they obtain their information from reliable, respected, and primary sources.

    You, on the other hand, do not understand fluoridation because you, obviously, rely solely on filtered and edited misinformation you glean from dubious antifluoridationist websites, blogs, online “publications, and non peer-reviewed “books”.

    Exert the minimal amount of effort it takes to obtain accurate information which has not been filtered through antifluoridationist sites, and you too may then begin to properly understand this important dental decay preventive initiative.

    Steven D. Slott, DDS

    • Doctors and dentists should be struck off for violating informed consent. We should start a blacklist. The science has long been settled. Fluoride affects the dermatological, gastrointestinal and neurological systems. Eczema, atopic dermatitis, urticaria,epigastric distress, emesis and headaches reported (Journal of Dental Medicine) Exert the minimal amount of effort it takes to obtain accurate information which has not been filtered through pro-fluoridationists. It’s not difficult. Fluoridationists should get the Nobel prize for cherry picking.

        • So the Journal of Dental Medicine isn’t valid ! Wow ! Please advise them so they can bow down to you. You appear to be allergic to the truth.

          • Shane you parade your scientific illiteracy and risible ineptitude.

            A journal title is not a citation.

            A scientific citation is usually a peer reviewed and published research paper, one that that has a title, author(s) and content.

          • Shane,

            You cited nothing from the Journal of Dental Medicine. Putting the name of a scientific journal in parentheses with no other information as to what article to which you refer, is meaningless. If you care to offer valid support for your opinions then properly cite your support such that it may be viewed in its complete and proper context. Google “proper scientific citing” if you need help with this.

            That you consider properly cited peer-reviewed scientific evidence as having been “filtered through pro-fluoridationists” is not surprising given your obvious lack of understanding of the difference between valid science and “junk science”.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS

            • Obviously you can’t read Steven, Didn’t you see Feltman and Kosel, Grimbergen, Waldbott, Spittle in a previous post? Google “Fluoride Fatigue” by Dr Bruce Spittle. Have you heard of “Google”? Even Ken Perrott has admitted in an unguarded moment that people can have adverse reactions to fluoride and should be compensated. Hope this helps.

              • I have “admitted” nothing of the sort – and the authors you quote do not present evidence to back up your claim. The most convincing paper I have seen on this found only a psychosomatic effect. However, there is of course a logical possibility of individual reaction. Just as there is with chloride or any other water treatment chemical. Logically the very few people who might be in this position should be handled as individuals and the health of the community not be sacrificed for them. A win-win situation.

                • “and the authors you quote do not present evidence to back up your claim.” Seriously Ken. What then is the evidence they have presented on adverse reactions? Where is your integrity? Dr George Waldbott said it is not an allergic reaction but “an adverse reaction that represents a true poisoning”. So all the evidence in Fluoride Fatigue and Feltman and Kosel, Grimbregen isn’t actually evidence? You give the game away by saying “most convincing paper”. This indicates you aren’t convinced when the evidence doesn’t suit your pre-conceived position. It’s called cognitive dissonance.

                  • Walbott’s was an animal study. I comment on Feltman and Kosel below – no data. Grimbregen’s was a shonky paper in Fluoride of extremely poor quality and not credible. I think you know all this and that is why you refuse to provide citations to enable others to check your claims.

              • Didn’t you see Feltman and Kosel, Grimbergen, Waldbott, Spittle in a previous post?


                If you want to engage in internet discussion please learn how comment nesting works. It is not others responsibility to wade through all your comments on the off chance that you mentioned something of relevance in another thread.

              • Shane

                Do you seriously consider that handful of dubious antifluoridationists….Waldbott, Spittle, Feltman, etc…..which is trotted out by all antifluoridationists due to the dearth of anyone else to quote, to have any credibility whatsoever? Do you seriously want to compare the opinions of these individuals with the overwhelming consensus opinion of the worldwide community of respected science and healthcare?

                Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Doctors and dentists should be struck off for violating informed consent.

        A stock anti public health initiative attack line.

        Courts in NZ and worldwide have repeatedly struck down this argument. So have medical and scientific communities and the NZ Dept of Health.

        • I notice you conveniently left out commenting on bottle fed babies who receive about 200 times more fluoride than breastr fed. Nature has designed a way to protect the infant from the toxic effects of fluoride. For over 50 years people have reported adverse side effects form fluoridated water. This is well documented by Drs Waldbott, Grimbergen, Spittle and Feltman and Kosel. Do a bit of research. European authorities and courts have regularly ruled against fluoridation. They always cite the ethical problems of informed consent with fluoridation. I’m afraid you can’t win this one.

          • I notice you conveniently left out commenting on… blah blah blah

            That’s because the comment I replied to contained no reference to bottle fed babies.

            What is it with you people? … Plainly, you are on another planet.

          • Shane,

            Now you seem to be an authority on what “nature has designed”. What your antifluoridationist website sources fail to mention is that Vitamin D and Iron are sufficiently inadequate in human breastmilk as to require supplements for breast fed infants. The well-worn, lame “argument” about fluoride content of breast milk has no merit in a discussion of the public health initiative of water fluoridation.

            Please properly cite the evidence of adverse effects of water fluoridation, you claim to have been reported by “people”.

            Antifluoridationists have repeatedly attempted the “forced medication” ruse in U.S. courts. They have been rejected each and every time.

            Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Shane says:
        June 11, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        Doctors and dentists should be struck off for violating informed consent. We should start a blacklist.


        Scientists don’t make laws – elected representatives do.

        As for the “science being settled” – it appears that the settled science does not mirror your beliefs?

        • On the contrary. The prestigious Physicians Desk Reference lists adverse reactions. Feltman and Kosel published adverse reactions in the Journal of Dental Medicine, “Gastrointestinal and neurological systems. Eczema,atopic dermatitis, urticaria, epigastric distress, emesis and headaches.”

          • Shane it is telling that you consistently refuse to cite your references in a way that readers can check. It isn’t hard, and if they really do say what you claim it is to your advantage to do so.

            Feltmam and Kosel did not publish adverse reactions as you claim. They had a simple sentence claiming possible adverse reactions for 1% of patients but supplies no data to back this up. We have no way of checking how reliable that sentence is and what affect was basically a placebo or psychosomatic.

            This is hardly credible but it is about the only thing anti-fluoridation propagandists rely on for their claims.

            • Aha – at last an admission that these people have published data. The Feltman and Kosel study was funded by the US Public Health Service.

              • No. A simple state to they did not publish data, just a vague statement. And you are still unwilling to properly cite the study. Do you want me to do so and quote the total mention of negative effects?

            • “1 % of our cases reacted adversely to the fluoride. By the use of placebos, it was definitely established that the fluoride and not the binder was the causative agent. These reactions, occurring in gravid women and in children of all ages in the study group affected the dermatological,gastrointestinal and neurological systems. Eczema,atopic dermatitis, urticaria, epigastric distress,emesis and headaches have all occurred with the use of fluoride and disappeared upon the use of of placebo tablets only to reoccur when the fluoride tablet was unknowingly to the patient given again. – Pg 194 Journal of Dental Medicine Vol 16. No 4. Note at bottom : This study made possible in part by grant 10.70,C4 United States Public Health Service, Dept of Health Education and Welfare, Washington DC.

              • At last Shane. Now notice, nowhere in the paper was any data provided for this statement. It comes across as a personal opinion. There is no way of checking to what extent a placebo effect was looked for. Yet this old paper is relied on by anti-fluoride propagandists to claim that 1% of the population reacts negatively to fluoridation. Even if the 1% were accurate one would suggest that these people could be accommodated by alternative programmes. But we can’t even be sure of that.

                Notice, I do not reject the idea that there may be people who react negatively. But if there are they are small in umber. And at the moment many who make this claim seem to be faking it for political purposes as they can not get a specialist support for their claims,

  4. It is indeed tedious to see the usual pro-fluoridation apologists again resorting to personal denigration and red herrings to sustain their miss-guided ideology based position on fluoridation.
    The Broadbent led study is being cited as relevant material because it was published in the American Journal of Public Health. That is the same journal the once carried advertising and articles defending cigarette smoking, including the ‘More Doctors smoke Camels than any other brand’. The same public relations spin doctors who developed that campaign were also involved in the long battle over lead in petrol and that was another fight which produced all sorts of scientific studies
    that ‘proved’ adding lead to petrol was beneficial, safe and effective.
    Note well that both those practices killed thousands of people and stopping them was acknowledged as a considerable step forward for humanity. The same is true of many detrimental developments throughout history where science has been skewed or bastardised to meet the outcomes wanted by those who put self-interest ahead of truth, justice and human well-being.
    Fluoridation is but another example of profit oriented science driving poor outcomes, with the science involved morphing into ideology. That ultimately brings the science and the scientists into disrepute and we are all poorer for that.

    • That is the same journal the once carried advertising and articles defending cigarette smoking, including the ‘More Doctors smoke Camels than any other brand’.

      See what Crosbie has done here? – falsely attributed Tobacco Co advertising to the position of the medical establishment.

      And so it goes, on and on and on again.

      Misinformation, scientific illiteracy, cherry picking, any argument will do. Welcome to Crankland.

      • Strawman ! Trevor just pointed out the fact that the journals carried the ads. It’s you that’s misleading, Richard.

        • You should make your minds up about who it is you want to smear, publishers or the medical and scientific communities?

    • Clealry, Trevor, you cannot find anything rational or factual in the Broadbent et al (2014) paper to complain about. So you resort to things which have no relevance.

      That is not the process for understanding reality – it only helps you to avoid reality.

  5. Oh no, here we go again: the anti-fluoride lobby trotting out the same old arguments. Its modus operandi reminds me very strongly of the pro-life lobby’s tactics on the various posts about the Greens’ policy on abortion.

    • KEN – I am not an activist and I’ve never visited an anti-fluoride website. Your aspersions are wrong on two counts, so far.

      Secondly, I am a biologist with two postgraduate qualifications. I work in medical research. You are a soil scientist. I’m sure we both understand what science is about and how it works.

      I don’t profess to be very well-informed about this debate. I was swayed a few years ago via this presentation from a Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, who was swayed himself (from a position of seeing no problem with it) by a bunch of evidence presented to him by his wife. What really piqued my interest at the time was his claim that fluoride is not uptaken by teeth when ingested orally!

      How about that? That’s when the whole edifice came tumbling down, for me. The fluoride added to water is a waste product that would be valueless, if it were not for the belief propounded to dentists by the chemical-purveying lobbies.

      In any case, a good few points are raised above about ethics and dosage. Nobody seems to be denying the biological damage that fluoride in water can cause. My point is that it doesn’t do any good for dental health, either. This reminds me of margarine – another waste chemical that is shown to disrupt cell transport mechanisms, because cell walls mistakenly build hydrogenated fats into their structure, compromising their function. It has taken a long, long time for that to become known.

      I hate to get personal. But I wonder why you spell litre in American English? There are many typos in your response, by which I judge it has been hastily written.

      Cheers for a good debate all contributors. I am ready to learn more than what little I know about the research into this issue. Essentially, what I want to know is “what good is it?”, as I already know there are serious adverse health effects associated with daily ingestion of fluoridated compounds.

      ps. A thought: if everyone had always kept good dental hygeine (flossing and brushing and rinsing (especially after acidic drinks) we would probably not have fluoridated water because there would not be a need for a population-wide “magic bullet”.

      • JEM

        Paul Connett is a political activist. He does not, tellingly, engage in the scientific arena. Nor has he any track record of research in the subject of fluoridation and dental health.

        It is not good scientific practice to be swayed by presentations rather than by the literature, but I’m sure you appreciate that.

        BTW your confusion over topical vs ingested activity arises from a deliberate tactic of obfuscation from Connett and others. See his debate with Ken over at Open Parachute blog for more detail on that point.

          • Ken Perrott does not parade himself around the globe as a paid shill expert on water fluoridation.

              • I do not pretend to be an authority on fluoridation at all. However, I do have a PhD in chemistry and a career in chemical research behind me. Similar to Paul Connett. Our debate was an exchange between people of roughly equal professional standing and I think that frustrated Paul as he was unable to get away with many things he usually does.

      • JEM, hopefully you are aware with your scientific training that an area like fluoridation is extremely complex. The literature has to be approached intelligently and critically. And one doesn’t come to conclusions simply on the basis of a video by a known leader of a politically motivated organisation.

        Paul Connett has done no research in this area. His publications on fluoride amount to 2 letters to the editor of a scientific journal and contribution to a review in a shonky scientific journal. He is a clever presenter and cleverly cherry picks and misrepresents the literature. For a more balanced understanding of him an his arguments I suggest you read the debate I had with him as you can then see challenges to some of his arguments. We also discuss ethical questions. See

        As for your claims that fluoridation is not effective and that it causes biological damage (of some unstated kind) I have dealt with many of these claims in a series of articles you can find in this list – But if you make a specific claim, with supporting evidence, perhaps we can discuss it.

        I apologise for my spelling – it’s true I do not have the time to spend on my replies you might consider necessary in your case. And I could make my usual excuse of blaming the iPad spell check. But I guess to be honest let’s just put it down to being chronologically challenged with all that entails in the visual and aural departments.

      • JEM I am not aware that I called you an activists or referred to you visiting anti-fluoridation websites (allhough I don’t see anything wrong with being an activist or surfing the web). Apologise if I did.

        Forgot to add to my description of Paul Connett. He also claims he is a (perhaps the) world expert on fluoridation. As always I suggest readers be very wary of such self-descriptions.

        Declan Waugh is another self-described expert in this field despite having done no research in it and having no scientific publications in it.

        Both these characters managed to pull the wool over the eyes of the Hamilton City Council – hence my conclusion above.

        • Ken has stated that Councillors are not equipped to make a fluoridation decision. He then incredibly says the public are equipped! .The funny thing is he tries to justify his illogicality. Now it is imposable to get more illogical than that.

          • Shane, you have used this argument before and I have shown it to be wrong. I don’t think you will change your view but once again:

            A referendum can’t decide on the science – that is silly. But it can decide a democratic decision – do the majority of he people accept or refuse fluoridation? That is important irrespective of the science because I do not think people should have something imposed against their democratically expressed will.

            A council should be in the position of representing its voters. Problem is that despite the clearly presented views of voters the Hamilton City Council was hoodwinked by the claims of political activists. Councis and councillors do not have the skills to make judgements on the science – unfortunately the Hamilton Councillors had the hubris to think they could.

            • Thanks. You have just confirmed that you will defend your silly assertion until you are blue in your face. Sciene by democracy. It’s your sneaky way to get your favorite dental treatment into the water.

              “I do not think people should have something imposed against their democratically expressed will.” – I agree. Fluoridation is undemocratic. Imagine if everybody voted in all the other things they wanted added to the water?

            • Perhaps I need to put it more simply for you, Shane. I have never said that councils are not equipped to make a decision on fluoridation. In fact legally they are obliged to.

              However, they are not equipped to make decisions on the science behind fluoridation. The Hamilton City Council made the mistake of doing this and got themselves into a mess because of that hubris. They would have been more sensible to accept the expert scientific advice and made their decisions on the political and mechanical issues.

              Councillors generally recognise they are not equipped to make judgments on science and are attempting to pass responsibility back to central government and their health experts because of this.

              Science should never be decided “democratically” or by politicians. But voters do have rights when it comes to political decisions and correcting the mistakes of their representatives.

  6. Highly concentrated oxygen is extremely dangerous and should not be consumed by anyone!

    Highly concentrated fluorine is extremely dangerous and should not be consumed by anyone!

  7. In the abstract (freely available), Broadbent et Al (2014 May 23) state, “We observed that individuals who had resided in areas with CWF long-term (into adulthood) had significantly higher IQs than those who had resided in non-CWF areas long-term” [CWF, community water fluoridisation].”

    In other words, fluoridated water makes you smarter!!! The abstract failed to mention the significance level.

    • In other words, fluoridated water makes you smarter!!!

      For someone trained in science you seem rather shaky on observation, correlation and causation.

      Or, maybe someone will claim it’s a case of Poe.

    • JEM – read Broadbent’s paper for the statistical details. I pointed out in my article above that simple statistical significance is not poof of any old hypothesis. As Broadbent et al pointed out in their poster paper the higher IQ of adults who have lived in CWF areas is more likely a result of better education, not fluoride. The importance of Broadbent’s paper was to show that IQ effects are more likely due to confounding factors like this than to fluoride. And this is one if the big problems in the work used in the Harvard review that Connett relies on. A common error in cherry picking by motivated people.

  8. I have been doing some research into medicines, legislation and fluoride use in NZ. I am concerned that NZ allows the use of a medicine in its water in some regions, by medicine I mean fluoride. Since fluoride is legally defined as a medicine in the Medicines Act 1981:

    The legal definition of a medicine is contained in Section 3(1) and 3(2) of the Medicines Act 1981;

    Subject to subsection (2) of this section, in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the term medicine means any substance or article, other than a medical device, that is manufactured, imported, sold, or supplied wholly or principally—
    For administering to one or more human beings for a therapeutic purpose; or
    For use as an ingredient in the preparation of any substance or article that is to be administered to one or more human beings for a therapeutic purpose, where it is so used—
    In a pharmacy or a hospital; or
    By a practitioner, or registered midwife, or designated prescriber, or in accordance with a standing order; or
    In the course of any business that consists of or includes the retail sale, or the supply in circumstances corresponding to retail sale, of herbal remedies; or
    For use as a pregnancy test.
    In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the term medicine does not include—
    Substances used in dental surgery for filling dental cavities; or
    Bandages and other surgical dressings, except medicated dressings where the medication has a curative function that is not limited to sterilising the dressing; or
    Any radioactive material within the meaning of section 2(1) of the Radiation Protection Act 1965; or
    Any animal food in which a medicine is incorporated; or
    Any animal remedy; or
    Any other substance or article of a kind or belonging to a class that is declared by regulations made under this Act to be a kind or class of substance or article that is not a medicine for the purposes of this Act

    Now from the Medicines Act it is noted that fluoride satisfies section 3(1)1…

    “Subject to subsection (2) of this section, in this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, the term medicine means any substance or article, other than a medical device, that is manufactured, imported, sold, or supplied wholly or principally—

    For administering to one or more human beings for a therapeutic purpose; or…”

    It then does not meet any of the requirements under the exclusions in part 2. Therefore this makes fluoride a medical treatment.

    Digging deeper into the law the NZ Bill of Rights Act 1990 Part 2 Section 11 states:

    Right to refuse to undergo medical treatment

    Everyone has the right to refuse to undergo any medical treatment.

    Any council who puts fluoride into our water is in breach of our very own NZ Bill of Rights. Who makes them accountable?

      • Judge Hansen confirmed that fluoride is added for the purposes of a therapeutic effect. That makes it a medicine. You can’t deny it. This is a major victory for people who don’t like toxic waste added to their water. Because of the contradictions in his judgement it is being appealed. I notice you are very quite about the appeal. You are also very quite about European courts and health authorties ruling that fluoridation is illegal and unethical. Nice cherry picking Ken !

        • I am hardly quiet about the appeal – I have been pointing out in my articles about the activist use of such tactics to delay a democratic decision from being acted on. I have also pointed out often the role of the “natural” health lobby group NZ Health in funding this legal action.

          The fact that a corporate funded appeal is in place does not at all mean it will be successful and for the moment Hansen’s judgment that fluoridation is not a medicine for the purposes of the Human Rights Bill stands.

          • You can’t get more undemocratic than subjecting everybody to fluoridated water. I’m glad you have reluctantly admitted on this blog that there is an appeal. It’s like getting blood out of a stone from you.

            • I’m glad you have reluctantly admitted on this blog that there is an appeal.

              This has no connection with reality.

              Shane appears to be engaging in conversation with voices in his head.

                • No Shane, it’s an observation and a well earned insult.

                  It wasn’t an ad hominem argument. Perhaps you ought to learn the difference.

    • Thanks for the post Julian. You’ve put forward a good argument. Fluoridationists can’t have it both ways.

  9. Blah blah wank wank, on both sides. I have exactly two objections with fluoride – fluoridosis (seen as that unsightly mottling on teeth) but more concerning for me is mass unconsented medicating. And don’t give me an earache about democracy – it’s still unconsented for those who don’t want it, their respective reasons for not wanting it, founded or unfounded, is entirely beside the point.

    • Duval – thanks for being specific. My response to the 2 points:

      1: Dental fluorosis is acknowledged as the only downside to water fluoridation. But at the concentrations used it causes only a small increase in questionable or very mild fluorosis – and these also occur in non-fluoridated areas. Anti-fluoride propagandists often misrepresent the situation with illustrations of sever edental fluorosis – which can be caused by naturally high levels or industrial contamination, but not by fluoridation.
      2: the argument of medication was rejected by Hansen’s recent High Court judgement . He also dealt with the freedom of choice argument. In the end fluoridation. Is a social policy like free hospitals and education. They are they are there for all of us but those who object to using free hospitals, schools and fluoridated water always have alternatives (medical insurance, private schools and water filters or alternative sources). Freedom of choice implies responsibility which often costs. No one has fluoridated water forced on them. I find it silly that people who don’t want fluoridated water feel that they should not use alternatives because they want to claim it is forced on them.

      • The Washington Supreme Court stated in 1954 that if city water is fluoridated, it will be necessary for residents “to use it for domestic purposes including drinking, because there is no other practical source of supply.” Kaul v Chehalis, 45 Wn.2d 616, 277 P.2d 352 (1954) at 618. Some people cannot afford a distiller or a whole house filter. Some are not strong enough to haul water jugs home. Some do not own a vehicle. Some cannot afford to buy water. I’m afraid your argument is silly Ken.

        • So, Shane, you appose free education and hospitals because those who object to them may not be able to afford medical insurance or private school fees? Come off it. Read Justice Hansen’s judgement:

          “Provided it does not have consequences for public health a person has the right to make even the poorest decisions in respect of their own health. But where the state, either directly or through local government, employs public health interventions, the right is not engaged. Were it otherwise, the individual’s right to refuse would become the individual’s right to decide outcomes for others. It would give any person a right of veto over public health measures which it is not only the right but often the responsibility of local authorities to deliver.”

          • The one good thing about this debate is that it demonstrates what the fluoridationists are about. It’s a religion to them. Various researchers have demonstrated or documented adverse reactions. Ken Perrott then replies that they have not presented any evidence. Wow ! It’s flat earth stuff.

          • So now free education and hospitals are analogous to fluoridation. Lol. I could not think of more absurd analogies. The other one I heard is seat belts. Ken you are demonstrating an increasing desperation in defending an untenable position and coming up with silly arguments.

      • Ken- Thank you for your response.

        1. The fact that fluorosis also occurs in non fluoridated areas does not unincriminate fluoride, it is called fluorosis after all for a reason. I suspect fluorosis in non fluoridated areas is due to the use of fluoride toothpaste, which I have no problem with – given the freedom of choice factor.

        2. Equating water fluoridation to social policy akin to schools and hospitals is a rubbish argument and frankly a bit of a canard.

        Just because someone of legal standing has an opinion that has legal ramifications (that are challengible) doesn’t make it right or wrong, it is what it is – a process of making definitions for legal clarity.

        Opting out of fluoride in fluoridated areas is not an option for all but the wealthiest of citizens. I have a water filter, a very good water filter that removes almost all impurities – almost all, it does not remove fluoride, a set up that is capable of doing that is cost prohibitive, as is purchasing all my water in the form of bottled water. Besides, I’ve already paid for my water via my not insignificant rates! I accept that water treatment is a fact of life, and am very greatful for that! But treating water to make it SAFE for consumption is something very different to USING it as a carrier agent for the delivery of another substance! That is my objection, and not a precedent Im at all comfortable with, not when it comes to WATER – there is nothing “optional” about water, it is second only to air as a requirement of life and to my mind should only ever be tampered with to make it safe to drink, nothing more!

        How about all water be fluoride free and those who want fluoride can use fluoridated toothpaste or buy fluoride tablets?? Is that such an unthinkable reality?

        • Duvall, my responses:

          1: Yes dental fluorosis is caused by fluoride and there is plenty of F in unfluoridated water – just insufficient to be beneficial. And yes, increased use of toothpaste will contribute. In NZ it is also recognised that not all tooth blemishes are due to fluoride – suggesting figures are over-estimates.

          The fact remains that F at levels near the optimum concentration, whether natural or supplemented, do not cause severe dental fluorosis. That is a lie put out by anti-fluoridation activists. Very mild or questionable dental fluorosis would only be of cosmetic concern – if at all noticeable.

          2: I don’t see any justification in your part for your claim that comparing fluoridation to other social good policies is “rubbish.” So you don’t convince me on that. And arguments of cost, affordability, etc., apply to all. The fact remains that if a minority imposes their will in preventing a social health policy beneficial to all then they are violating the rights of the majority and refusing to take responsibility for their own minority wishes.

          3: Water (or salt, milk) fluoridation is not a substitute for toothpaste or vice versa. Empirical evidence shows that the regular consumption of fluoridation water or food supplements use of toothpaste. This is because the F cincentrations of saliva declines relatively rapidly so cannot be maintained at optimum levels through the day by tooth brushing alone. Fluoridated tablets do not overcome this problem and should only be used under professional guidance.

          Finally, there is really no such thing as F free water. In Hamilton our source water has around 0.2 – 0.3 ppm F, peaking at 0.6 ppm. When fluoridated the level is controlled at 0.7 ppm.

          In many parts of the world the problem is too much fluoride in water leading to widespread dental and skeletal fluorosis. In a sense we are lucky as it is easier and cheaper to supplement naturally low levels than reduce high levels.

          • The Ministry of Heath acknowledges that fluoridation can cause cosmetic damage to the teeth. Young people are sensitive about their looks. Fluorosis means an overexposure to fluoride. Seems like a lot of people are getting too much fluoride.

        • Duval, it is difficult to see where your argument 1) would stop or end.

          Fluoride occurs naturally in many water supplies.

          Where it does, would you want or require removed?

          If yes, what level of removal would you require i.e. what level do you believe the level of fluoride becomes safe or is at an acceptable level of “removal”, and why?

          • To Ken and Richard,

            Firstly the fluorosis aspect is not my primary concern in regards to water fluoridation and somewhat beside the point, lets move on.

            I don’t actually have a problem with fluoride in and of itself – I take issue with un consented medicating. Bad enough with an individual, worse still entire populations. Fluoride is put into the water supply for the express purpose of deriving a medical benefit (rightly or wrongly is beside my point) that is why I called the social policy argument a canard – yes there are technical elements of truth to it, but it is quite unlike schools and hospitals simply because water is not optional, it very much is a requirement of life, that fact alone elevates the situation.

            How right is a social policy if it negates the right to refuse treatment? Fine, if you’re not the one who wishes to refuse. For reasons already given, I don’t condone the use of a fundamental requirement of life, in this instance water, being used as the deliberate delivery mechanism of another substance, on questionable merits or otherwise.

            When I say fluoride free, I think you both know what I mean – free of additionally added fluoride. I accept fluoride naturally occurs in water, and other things, but naturally occurring and contaminated are very different things – natural I don’t have issue with in this regard, yes I know natural is not necessarily synonymous with healthy – but when has industrial waste ever been considered a health supplement? Fluoride? As I understand it, the natural F level of sea water is 1.3ppm and fresh water between 0.01 and 0.3 – is 0.7 optimal? I don’t know, maybe, but so far am unconvinced. If in the case of very high “naturally” occurring levels of fluoride, that to me becomes an issue of water safety and should be treated just the same to get it to a point regarded safe to drink, but yeah – not cheap is it, to remove fluoride. What is the “safe” level of F in drinking water? I don’t know, depends how “safe” is measured. Something can be at safe but still not desirable levels. Easy to put in, damn difficult to get out!… Is that really a precedent we want with our water? Things that make you go hmm.

            I don’t really want to argue about the merits or lack of with fluoride, I readily accept some evidence suggests benefits, some suggests otherwise, which is why for me it’s not about the fluoride in itself – it’s about the means of delivery and conflict of consent it creates that Im yet to be persuaded doesn’t exist, or doesn’t somehow matter – it matters to me. I would think it matters to anyone concerned about consent, freedom of choice, and the importance of water.

            • When I say fluoride free, I think you both know what I mean – free of additionally added fluoride.

              The basis of your objection is irrational.

              You have no objection to naturally occurring fluoride.

              You only object to that added by man.

              It goes without saying that can’t tell added fluoride apart from natural fluoride in the water. Except if your name is Shane.

              Nor can you provide readers with an acceptable level of fluoride, natural or not.

              It appears your objection is based solely on the concept of artificially adjusting the level.

              BTW, water fluoridation is not medication. It is simply an adjustment of the concentration of a naturally occurring trace ion in the water supply to a level optimal for dental health.

              Courts in NZ and worldwide have repeatedly endorsed this viewpoint. Medical communities and health authorities worldwide have repeatedly endorsed this viewpoint. .

              • It will always come off as irrational if your mind can’t stop thinking about fluoride for just a moment to understand my objection is about the threshold that personal rights get overridden by “the greater good” and my concern for water as a basic human right and what implications that might have. We also disagree on what constitutes “medicine”. You say it’s not medication, then say it’s for dental health and medical communities and health authorities endorse this view – cant have it both ways, be consistent please, not alter your angle to suit. In my opinion the act of adding fluoride and the purpose of doing so fits the definition of what constitutes “medicine”

                • .You say it’s not medication, then say it’s for dental health and medical communities and health authorities endorse this view – cant have it both ways, be consistent please, not alter your angle to suit.

                  I’ll give you the opportunity to re-read what I wrote and then correct the reply I’ve quoted. You might also like to consider that health and medical authorities are well qualified to define what medicine and medication is.

                  Saying that water [supply] is a basic human right is total nonsense.

                  Water is a metabolic necessity, how it is supplied is another matter altogether. In some jurisdictions it’s under the control of private enterprise, in others a public supply is offered in others still no supply is offered by others at all and/or you make your own arrangements.

                  In NZ’s case you have a choice of all three of the above. Rights are only bestowed by societal covenant. You have no automatic human right to water of any sort unless the society you lives in bestows it.

                  • More Selective misinterpretation to try debase my view – it’s been a recurring theme and has become boring to debate around. Thank you for your oppinons delivered as irrefutable facts. What constitutes human rights and how water features in that is precisely the point Im raising. Thankfully such things are determined through robust debate and legal challenges, not by proclomation of the we say so brigade. Your views are now clear to me, thank you.

                    • .my concern for water as a basic human right and what implications that might have.

                      Thank you for your oppinons delivered as irrefutable facts.

  10. One thing I learned some time ago whilst fighting a pro development lobby group in the Waitakere Ranges was how easy it can be for a small, vociferous, self-serving and well funded group of people to get the upper hand when dealing with inept Councillors, lazy press people and a population who have been programmed to believe what they hear!

    Most of the (to the uninformed) very concerning claims and points that they made were blatantly and deliberately misleading. They lied, they exaggerated, they created a whole pile of unsubstantiated and scaremongering information.

    We countered that with factual, evidence-based information, and we won.

    People can be too easily manipulated by hear-say. Stick to the facts, people ! Concentrate on more urgent concerns like global warming, poverty and inequality – don’t be distracted by noisy quackery !

    • The MOH constantly lies to the NZ public. They repeat the phrase that fluoride benefits everyone. Now that just isn’t true. Various researchers have found that some people have toxic reactions to fluoridated water. By all means let those who want fluoride supplement with it but don’t add it to the shared public water supply. I think that is the sensible option that the vast majority of the world follows.

      • My word, that’s a strong claim, Shane.

        “The MoH doesn’t agree with me, therefore they’re constantly lying to the New Zealand public.”

        I mean, the sheer number of questions raised if we believe you truly boggles the mind.

        1) Why is the MoH lying to us, exactly?
        2) What else are they lying to us about?
        3) How come the various independent scientific institutions haven’t caught them out in their lies?
        4) Or the scientific institutions in other countries (without fluoridated water)?
        5) Where are the whistle-blowers or journalists who should be exposing the whole house of cards?
        6) Since the MoH isn’t the only public health institution (across multiple countries) which maintains fluoridated water is safe, how are they coordinating the lies?
        7) Where, exactly, does all the research they point to to justify their supposed lies come from?

        I await your answers to these questions with bated breath.

        • I await your answers to these questions with bated breath.

          Unless you are in training for extreme depth diving that would not be a good idea, Chris.

        • Chris I’ve shown numerous times in my posts that fluoride can cause toxic side effects. Please go through them again. If fluoridation was so effective the whole world would be queuing up to fluoridate. The opposite is true as more and more places ditch fluoridation.Whistleblowers are speaking out everywhere. eg Dr Hardy Limeback , a PhD dentist has apologized for fluoridation. That’s just one example.Thousands of other medical and dental professionals are speaking out. The Nobel Medical Institute and the Pasteur institute recommended against fluoridation when consulted in their respective countries. Various contributors on this blog have put forward much stronger arguments against fluoridation than for. Hope this answers your questions.

          • I’m sorry, Shane, you have failed to answer, or even address any of my questions.

            I didn’t ask for you to ramble on about your personal beliefs and people you claim share them.

            My questions relate to your claim that the MoH is “constantly lying to us.”

            Let me repeat the questions:

            1) Why is the MoH lying to us, exactly?
            2) What else are they lying to us about?
            3) How come the various independent scientific institutions haven’t caught them out in their lies?
            4) Or the scientific institutions in other countries (without fluoridated water)?
            5) Where are the whistle-blowers or journalists who should be exposing the whole house of cards?
            6) Since the MoH isn’t the only public health institution (across multiple countries) which maintains fluoridated water is safe, how are they coordinating the lies?
            7) Where, exactly, does all the research they point to to justify their supposed lies come from?

            Do try again, and this time, try and let go of your obsession with telling people how evil fluoride is and answer the questions asked.

            Handy hint: Barring some form of evidence to the contrary, “The Nobel Medical Institute and the Pasteur institute recommended against fluoridation in specific countries” =/= “these institutes have exposed the lies of the MoH or other scientific institutions which endorse fluoridation of water in different countries.”

            Also: Hardy Limeback is exactly one name. I find your claims of “thousands of medical and dental professionals speaking out” thoroughly unconvincing. You might like to source a list there. Be careful though, the last list I saw was riddled with homeopaths and naturopaths, which denotes a certain desperation on the part of whoever compiled it.

          • Lame.

            (slow hand clap)

            You supplied a name. And not even a whistleblower, just a lone eccentric with a bee in his bonnet as he approached the twilight years of his career (and no, that’s not a reference to Connett.).

            So, how is it done? You haven’t addressed Chris’s question.

            Give us the nuts and bolts of how the thousands of participants and representative organisations of the scientific and medical communities are kept in line.

            Give us a paper trail. Or the money trail. Anything.

            Maybe evidence of severed ears in the post or threats made to the children of scientists to make them all sing to the same tune and lie to the world.

            All silent, thousands of them, all covering up the awful truth.

            All over the globe.

            All forgoing a Nobel prize that’s there for the asking, for blowing the scam apart with the true science of fluoridation.

            And their families too. Towing the line.

            The awful awful truth that Shane and Trevor and Harry are privy to.

            • Typical head in the sand reply. What you guys have is a syndrome called cognitive dissonance. It’s difficult to have a proper conversation with you guys. Reminds me of the thalidomide case where it was defended even when birth defects were showing up. Remember how tobacco,lead, asbestos were “safe”? I’m still waiting for the Randomized Control Trial to show fluoridation is both safe and effective. When you have supplied that then I would be willing to continue the conversation. I’m not going to get into some sort of schoolyard brawl.

              • No answers to Chris’s questions.

                You’ve got nothing.

                Just piss, wind and conspiracy accusations.

  11. “It is now known that such vital organs as the kidneys, thyroid, aorta (main heart artery), liver, lungs and others can be the sites of an unusually high fluoride build-up. No matter how small the amount of fluoride in the diet, a part of it tends to accumulate in the body. When the water supply is fluoridated the intake of the individual is considerably increased and the accumulation in the body increases accordingly. There is no clear-cut pattern as to the degree of retention among individuals. Further, it accumulates in certain organs in an unpredictable way. Some individuals may store up to 100 times more fluoride in certain tissue than others. This has given rise to concern over fluoride’s possible role in chronic disease. Fluoride is an enzyme poison and medical authorities recognize that disturbances of the enzyme system are a cause of disease.” (Dr. Jonathan Forman, M.D., world-renowned specialist in allergy, Professor-Emeritus of Ohio State University, former editor of the Ohio State Medical Journal, editor of Clinical Physiology, in statement in behalf of Medical-Dental Committee on Evaluation of Fluoridation.)

    • Shane

      Dr. Jonathan Foreman was born in 1897, attended Medical School in 1910, taught at Ohio State in the 1930s, and, in “his later years” during the 1950s, was an activist against fluoridation.

      Is this the “new, emerging science” about which antifluoridationists constantly speak, but are somehow never able to produce?

      Since you want to post opinions, how about if we take a look at a little more up-to-date opinion, that from a highly respected endocrinologist from the University of Florida…..

      August 27, 2013

      To Whom It May Concern:

      As a practicing endocrinologist, I was appalled at the claims that fluoridated drinking water causes clinically significant harm to the endocrine system.

      Clinically, in more than 30 years of seeing patients, I have never seen any fractures or thyroid problems associated with fluoridated water. Early puberty is more associated with obesity than anything else, though there are many endocrine disrupters that have estrogenic effect. Fluoride has not been implicated, though lavender, tea tree oil and HCG, substances found commonly in hair products, have been.

      I looked at the papers cited about the effects of fluoride on thyroid function and could find none that suggested any effect on thyroid at doses used in fluoridated water. A Review of the literature published in 1986 came to the same conclusion:

      “The increasing use of fluoride for prevention of dental caries poses the problem as to whether this halogen has antagonistic properties towards iodine, whereby it could hamper the success of iodine prophylaxis of endemic goitre. Review of the literature shows that some authors have found an inhibition by fluoride of various steps of thyroid hormone biosynthesis in animal experiments. By and large, the inhibition was only slight and it was elicited only with fluoride doses greatly in excess of those recommended for caries prevention. The inhibition was not consistently present and other authors could not confirm it in comparable experiments. There is no convincing evidence that fluoride produces true goitres with epithelial hyperplasia in experimental animals. There are some reports based on casual observations that fluoride is goitrogenic in man. On the other hand, several good studies with adequate exposed and control populations failed to detect any goitrogenic effect of fluoride in man. It is noteworthy in particular that fluoride does not potentiate the consequences of iodine deficiency in populations with a borderline or low iodine intake.Published data failed to support the view that fluoride, in doses recommended for caries prevention, adversely affects the thyroid.”

      I hope this clarifies the issues a bit more.


      Janet Silverstein, MD, FAAP

      Or how about the opinion of a highly respected toxicologist who chaired the 2006 NRC Committee on Fluoride…..

      “I do not believe there is any valid, scientific reason for fearing adverse health conditions from the consumption of water fluoridated at the optimal level”

      —John Doull, MD, PhD, Chair of the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council 2006 Committee Report on Fluoride in Drinking Water

      Or, how about the opinions of the Deans of the Harvard Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, and Public Health…….

      March 22, 2013

      Dr. Myron Allukian, Jr.
      Immediate Past President, American Association for Community Dental Programs
      Associate Clinical Professor, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

      Dear Dr. Allukian:

      As Deans of Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and the Harvard School of Public Health, we
      continue to support community water fluoridation as an effective and safe public health measure for people of all ages.

      Numerous reputable studies over the years have consistently demonstrated that community water fluoridation is safe,
      effective, and practical. Fluoridation has made an enormous impact on improving the oral health of the American people.

      Our country is fortunate to have over 204 million Americans living in fluoridated communities and having access to the
      health and economic benefits of this vital public health measure.


      Jeffrey S. Flier, MD
      Dean of the Faculty of Medicine
      Caroline Shields Walker Professor of Medicine
      Harvard Medical School

      R. Bruce Donoff, DMD, MD
      Dean and Walter C. Guralnick Distinguished Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
      Harvard School of Dental Medicine

      Julio Frenk, MD, MPH, PhD
      Dean of the Faculty, Harvard School of Public Health
      T & G Angelopoulos Professor of Public Health and International Development,
      Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School

      Or the opinions of the past 5 US Surgeons General….



      Steven D. Slott, DDS

      • Nice endorsement “science” for the trash can. Follow the real science Dr Slott. Let me guess breast milk is deficient in arsenic lead and mercury? I suppose breast milk is deficient in toxic waste from fertilizer smoke stacks? How about mercury fillings. I suppose they are safe are they? Still looking for an RCT trial are you. I thought you guys were only interested in the highest level of science. I see your standards are conveniently lowered when it suits you.

    • Like I know right! Or said another way – anyone who has thoughts different to mine is an obvious fool that must be brought to bear with ad hominem as I relish in the opportunity to flex my clearly superior intellect and grasp of the situation in stark contrast to theirs. I understand mate.

      This “anti fluoride” caper could do with some rebranding. To be anti anything is to instantly be positioned in a negative frame – that’s always hard to sell and easy to reject, especially within the generally un inquisitive minds of “the public” and in a battle of ideas is at a disadvantage by being on the back foot. Not to mention it invites a certain type of ridicule and labelling as evidenced above.

      Instead of “anti fluoride” how about “pro fluoride freedom of choice” it has the words pro, freedom, and choice in there – all good buzzwords! As any marketing magnate worth their salt will tell you – you never sell a product on its virtues, or worse, vices, in the case of anti fluoride! You sell it by association! The pro fluoride camp has this one stitched up, both by being pro something and by their biggest weapon – association to the biggest hitters in idea shapers and belief generators – conventional “wisdom” and the established practise of status quo. Those two nuts are a very hard crack. People, as a general rule don’t like changing their ideas on things, and when challenged to do so tend to respond at first dismissively, then with ridicule, then if pressed more, with hostility, then if and/or when the “new” idea reaches a certain level of consensus to replace the old convention it then becomes self evident and those who dismissed it, ridiculed it, and attacked it, develop spontaneous amnesia. The anti fluoride, sorry – pro fluoride freedom of choice movement is currently straddling ridicule and hostility…

      • Of course, being ridiculed is in no way a guarantee that one’s views are correct, or will ever be endorsed by the scientific community.

        People ridicule creationists as well, and they certainly generate hostility.

      • I think you are over-intellectualising the situation Duval. Surely what we have here is a consensus amongst the scientific and health experts and authorities that fluoridation is safe and effective. Sure there is the freedom of choice issue but we are used to balancing that against the social good aspect. Opponents of fluoridation have basically used scare tactics. People are more likely to accept what the experts and health people say than what the antis say – especially as many of the antis are also involved in protesting against vaccinations and chemtrails.

        The freedom of choice argument is the strongest one the antis have and many people are sympathetic to it. But again the way they ignore or downplay the social good aspect turns people off. To stress either freedom of choice or social good and ignore the other argument is just political extremism.

        The antis may sometimes convince councillors who are scientifically naive as they did in Hamilton. But their arguments fall flat on people who are interested in the social good and are prepared to put their trusts in experts rather than political activists financed by corporate interests (the “natural” health industry).

        • Am I though, over intellectualising it? Maybe, but I suppose that’s preferable to under intellectualising things, isn’t it? What’s the optimum level of intellect on this – 0.7ppm? (Humour)

          I don’t actually disagree with all of what you’re saying, just the bit where it turns into your personal right to refuse treatment does not apply here because of some greater good to the many, or at least a belief there is such a good. Im not declaring that such a situation can never exist under any circumstances, of course I see merit in that but I don’t think the merits are strong enough in this instance to cancel out a fundamental human right – we’re talking about dental cavities, not life or death. Speaking of dental cavities, as I understand it, fluoride is not the big game changer here anyway, socioeconomics is, given the diet and access to health care, including dental health that it ingratiates. Would not addressing that be an even greater good? You know full well that fluoride is no antidote to a diet based on fizzy and low quality calories. I’m not trying to make out like fluoride is a “bad” thing, of course like anything it can be, but I have no selective deafness here from the sound of my own axe on a grindstone. My issue is one of rights to refuse and the threshold at which it no longer applies, that, and a lets just tip in the water way of thinking. There are precedents here that don’t sit well with me.

          You mention vaccinations, just touching on that for a moment – parents not vaccinating their children is a concern for me and in some instances IS a life and death situation. Do I then condone forced vaccinations? Absolutely not. I would however like to see greater education about vaccinations which I think has been lacking and allowing fear to sway people. Fluoride is a lesser issue to the greater good than vaccinations – me and my family are not at greater risk of potentially fatal diseases because someone else has poor dental hygiene! If forced vaccinations don’t pass the bar, how on earth does forced fluoride? That freedom of choice thing and right to refuse really means something when it’s in a needle huh? For me the principle doesn’t change, just the mode of delivery.

          • There is something weird about the mindset of the anti-fluoride activists who continually present themselves as being victims, having something forced on them.

            This simply is not the case (and use of the word medicine is simply semantics to enhance the victimisation). Access to clean safe water is generally considered a right (which is denied most people in the world at the moment). And our elected and appointed authorities have an a obligation to make that available. However, there is no forcing, no obligation on our part to take what they provide. There are plenty of alternatives – as with hospitals and schools.

            Thousands of people in this country take the same approach to water as they do to education and hospitals, without moaning about it. They will use benchtop filters or purchase drinking water seperately. Even people who sensibly accept the beneficial effects of fluoride in drinking water. (Fortunately not all filters will remove the fluoride).

            There are sensible reasons for further treating our drinking water, or using alternative sources, because of unpleasant tastes arsising from the water source or treatments. Most people who take steps do so without making a fuss – accepting in most cases that their tap water passes the required grades but deciding they want something better.

            Why is it the anti-fluoridationists cannot act in this mature way? Why do they feel the need to impose a very questionable standard on others instead of simply taking the relatively cheap steps of using appropriate filters or different sources?

            I can only conclude that like all fanatics they are just not happy to get on with life in a mature way. They want to impose their “standards” on others. And of course like all fanatics it doesn’t stop with fluoridated water or freedom of choice. If they are successful in banning something they consider a “low hanging fruit” they move on. They then want to remove other water treatments like chlorination, ban fluoridated milk and salt (bugger the “freedom of choice argument), vaccinations, etc. and many of them want us to worry about clouds in the sky as well.

            They are just not happy with contemplating those clouds by themselves and leaving the rest of us out of that madness.

            • Ken, Im not sure what conversation you’re having, or with whom, it’s not the same one Im having. You’re banging a drum I don’t groove to.

              I’m not playing any sort of victim nor wanting to impose anything on any one – the exact opposite in fact. I’m speaking up for the right to refuse medical treatment and the precedent of using the water supply as the carrier agent of some other substance – Im not banging on about fluoride and irrelevant nonsense, you are, and the fact something, regardless of what it is, is used to achieve a medical effect – makes it a medicine, in the context of that use. I’m sorry the definition of medicine doesn’t suit you. Dismissing inconvenient realities as semantics and bombarding me with your disdain for “anti-fluoridantionists” does nothing to convince me that the personal rights versus the greater good threshold here is valid. Using your where will it all end if they get their way argument – if no one defends the boundaries of personal rights, what next – forced vaccinations? That’s not “medicine” – it’s protection! Compulsory euthanasia? For god sakes, don’t be such a victim – it’s all for the greater good of the many! These examples are no more nonsensical than yours, or is nonsense only nonsense when it doesn’t suit you? I am starting to see a pattern.

              No one is forcing water onto anyone huh, nice semantics when it suits you – water is about as optional as air.

              As for bench top filters – cut it out Ken. You’re either being ignorant or deliberately disingenuous – bench top filters are not capable of removing fluoride and a set up that is costs into the thousands, so much for your flippant let them eat cake attitude. As I have mentioned previously, I do have a water filter, it does not remove fluoride, I am not cut up about that, it does remove almost all impurities though, such as chlorine and other chemicals necessary in water treatment that far from begrudging am grateful for and do take personal responsibility to remove when it gets to me. No victimisation vicissitudes here – just a citizen grateful to have an abundance of “safe” drinking water and would like to see it stay that way and can see things a little wider than the myopic fascination with fluoride.

              • Ken is wrong in regard to access to water being a right. Your societal rights are bestowed by your society, not mother nature or a sky man.

                If either of you set up residence in some arid region sans pubic supply, you can’t then moan it’s your right and demand someone else supply water to the purity standard you dictate.

                BTW if you are on a decent town supply and fluoride and chlorine etc are your concerns, a whole house activated carbon filter can be had for well under a thousand dollars in NZ. It’s only when you add UV sterilisation and additional particle/sediment filtration stages that the price creeps up between 1 and 2K.

              • Good argument Duval. It’s frustrating when Ken dishonestly tries to obfuscate by bringing in unrelated subjects. It’s a sure sign of his desperation and that he is losing the argument.

            • No, Duval, you are still playing the victim. Sure a more suitable ion exchange filter or osmosis system might cost you more – but that a your choice. No one forces you to consume water without such further treatment or to use other water sources.

              You exaggerate the costs of doing so, part of the victim mentality. My point is that it would be more mature to accept a democratic decision, recognise your values are different and bear the small added expense like an adult. Thousand of. People do so in this country without moaning like this or attempting to deny a safe and effective health policy to others.

              • Victim, moaner, immature, denier – Ken, are you even capable of discussion that doesn’t contain insults and ad hominem? I’m yet to see evidence. I also notice a proclivity to get off point and like Richard, deliberately misinterpret. Someone who was truly secure in their stance would not need to do such things. You have however taken the time to put your point across and for that I thank you.

  12. This “anti fluoride” caper could do with some rebranding. To be anti anything is to instantly be positioned in a negative frame – that’s always hard to sell and easy to reject, especially within the generally un inquisitive minds of “the public” and in a battle of ideas is at a disadvantage by being on the back foot. Not to mention it invites a certain type of ridicule and labelling as evidenced above.

    Give us a break.

    Anti is a perfectly apt prefix, it designates against. Exactly the position of those against it.

    Use of the prefix does not pre-judge the motivation of those it describes. Your suggestion does and is therefore dishonest.

    The rest of your comment is maudlin self pity for a movement that has been around for seventy years and hasn’t produced any credible evidence that has budged the scientific or health community. That is why most of the anti-fluoridation movement’s current and past activity is political rather than scientific. Science only moves on the evidence – whereas public relation matters can be manipulated and subjected to misinformation.

    Your solution/gripe is to play a PR game and ignore the evidence. Colour me unsurprised.

    • Richard, it was an outside observation with overtures of humour, not any form of gripe or self pity. You do of course have the freedom to read into it as you wish – freedom of choice, I like that concept, where else could it apply I wonder? (Insert earnest contemplation here)

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