Science Vs. Politics – Australia’s Water Fluoridation Debate

Kate Johnston
Activist Post

As countries around the world continue to ban their water fluoridation programs citing adverse health effects, Journalist Kate Johnston speaks to Independent Politician Mark Aldridge and Independent Film Maker Jaya Drolma, to find out why Australia is lagging behind.

South Australian Independent Candidate and Civil Rights Advocate Mark Aldridge began questioning Australia’s water fluoridation program after encountering some information claiming that the benefits of fluoride on our teeth are largely topical – through application such as toothpaste – rather than systemic.

“I couldn’t understand why we were bathing in it, drinking it, washing our cars in it when studies showed the benefits to be topical,” said Mark.

“You know where it comes from, right?” he asked rhetorically.

I knew, but how many Australians did?

The fluoride added to Australia’s water supply is a toxic waste from the phosphate fertilizer industry – not the pharmaceutical grade, naturally occurring fluoride found in toothpaste.

Australia sources most of its hydrofluorosilicic acid from Incitec Pivot in Geelong, Victoria – a global manufacturer of explosives and fertilizer. According to Incitec’s own safety data sheet, the hydrofluorosilicic acid added to our water is a classified Schedule 7 poison, which means it has high to extremely high toxicity and can cause death at low exposure.

Another issue arising from using an industrial waste product, is the contamination of heavy metals such as arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium, barium, beryllium and even uranium – which along with hydrofluorosilicic acid – are bio accumulative in our bodies and result in disease.

Australia’s water fluoridation program must be viewed within the context of the rest of the world. The decades old practice is steadily losing legitimacy, with Israel being the latest country to ban the controversial practice after the Supreme Court ruled that water fluoridation is detrimental to health.
And Israel is not alone. Today, 97% of Western Europe remains unfluoridated, with many of the European countries banning the practice citing health and ethical reasons for the move.

“In any country where the issue has faced their courts of justice or been put to a referendum, in every case the adding of fluoride was stopped immediately,” said Mark.

“Most of Europe has taken fluoride out. That leaves a few Western countries that don’t allow debate,” he added.

How Clean is Your Water?  Test it with the Drinking Water TestHistorically, the Australian water fluoridation debate has been focused around the effects that fluoride has on dental health, ignoring the growing body of scientific evidence outlining the adverse effects that ingesting the known poison has on the rest of the body.

According to Mark, “there is an absence of debate in the public arena.”

“They [the mainstream media] won’t allow anything that goes against the government position,” he added.

While there have been earlier tests done on the pharmaceutical grade sodium fluoride often cited in the media, no real research by the Australian government has gone into the effects that hydrofluorosilicic acid has on our bodies. And given the mounting evidence from inside Australia and all over the world showing the connections between water fluoridation, cancers, lowered IQ, thyroid problems and pineal gland dysfunction – that’s exactly where the debate needs to start.

While many claims have been made about the benefits of fluoride in reducing tooth decay, studies from within Australia and around the world indicate that there is little to no difference in the levels of tooth decay between fluoridated and unfluoridated communities.

Dr. John Colquhoun, a New Zealand dentist and former water fluoridation proponent, wrote a telling journal article outlining his own research into the prevalence of tooth decay in fluoridated and unfluoridated communities. His results indicated that there was little to no difference between fluoridated and unfluoridated communities and where studies indicated otherwise, serious flaws were found, thus invalidating their findings.

A research study carried out at by Harvard University has found that children’s IQs were significantly lower in areas that were heavily fluoridated, compared to those that weren’t. It is believed that fluoride acts as a developmental neurotoxicity, which affects brain development.

According to physician and author Dr. Joseph Mercola he writes in a Huffington Post article,

It amazes me that the medical (and dental) communities are so stubbornly resistant to connect the dots when it comes to the skyrocketing increase of cognitive decline in adults and behavioural issues in children.

Dr Doug Everingham, a doctor who later became Australia’s Federal health minister under the Gough Whitlam government, started out as a proponent of water fluoridation programs in Australia.

It wasn’t until he came across a study by Melbourne University’s Dentistry Dean Sir Arthur Amies and Senior Research fellow Phillip R. N. Sutton – highlighting the errors of the early fluoridation trials – that he started his own research.

In an interview with Dr. Everingham, he speaks of his time serving as the Australian health minister and water fluoridation opponent. Dr Everingham highlights the problems he encountered in getting the issue addressed, and subsequently acted upon, by the Australian government.

We had unconfirmed reports of damage to the thyroid gland, bones and so on… Various reports that have never been individually challenged refuted or confirmed [by the Australian Government and its respective health agencies].

In 1990, a study by The U.S. National Toxicology program was conducted looking at the relationship between water fluoridation and bone, liver and oral cancers as well as thyroid dysfunction. The study found strong links between water fluoridation and the prevalence of cancers yet the results were downgraded to a less severe classification.

Purify Your Drinking Water - Wellness CarafeDr. William Marcus, chief toxicologist in the Office of Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) noticed this downgrade and immediately sent a memorandum out stating that fluoride was a probable human carcinogen (cancer causing). He proposed that further studies be carried out so that the agency could ascertain what levels were safe or if fluoride should be added to the public’s water supply at all. A campaign against Dr. William Marcus was initiated, and he was soon thereafter fired.

I spoke to Independent Film Maker and Director of the Australian documentary Fire Water: Australia’s Industrial Fluoridation Disgrace, Jaya Chela Drolma, to glean some insight from her experience in making the film.

Jaya felt compelled to make Fire Water after being asked to shoot a single short film segment about a person suffering from prolonged fluoride exposure. What transpired was a collection of 19 interviews from a cross section of Australian society including researchers, politicians, activists, sufferers and health professionals.

“The mainstream media has maintained absolute silence; the ‘pro fluoride’ lobby’s stance is unquestioned by the people; and the media has only supplied officially sanctioned information without any true critical analyses,” said Jaya.

“Also of great concern is that aboriginal people have smaller kidneys than Caucasians, and therefore cannot eliminate as much fluoride per day, for the same dose given; and that there is no way to monitor the dose that people are ingesting each day,” she added.

As I started to wrap up the thought-provoking interview, Mark Aldridge reiterated the importance of Australians keeping themselves informed.

Instead of relying on the mainstream media and in the best interest of their health and that of their children’s, Australians have to start spending an hour a week actually looking into what’s going on in the world. 

This country is on its knees at the moment, on its knees,” he added. “If we can’t bring change soon, we’re in trouble.

This article first appeared here on Kate Johnston’s site Discerning Kate, where you can find insightful ramblings about life, society and the general state of the world.

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