9 May 2017
Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Michael Gannon has repeatedly made public statements promoting the dumping of industrial fluoride pollution into public water supplies, going back at least as far as early 2014. Gannon was made president of the Western Australian branch of the AMA on 4 June 2014 (AMAWA 2014), having previously been vice president, and was elected national dictator of the AMA on 29 May 2016 (AMA 2016). I started campaigning against forced-fluoridation online in late 2012, and in that time I have seen extreme hypocrisy from fluoridationists over and over and over again. None of the perpetrators of forced-fluoridation I have encountered have been bigger hypocrites than Michael Gannon, however, simply because it is not possible for anyone to be a bigger hypocrite than him; he is at the furthest reaches of the extreme lunatic fringe, though far from alone.
Every sane person knows that forced-fluoridation is unethical. They know that using public water supplies to deliver any medication is unethical, and that the fluoridationist claims that their behaviour is ethical because the fluoride they say prevents tooth decay is not a medication, or because people don’t have to drink the water, or because the ends justify the means, are absurd. The dumping of industrial fluoride pollution into public water supplies under the guise of preventing tooth decay is a clear violation of the human right to informed consent to medical intervention (UNESCO 2005), and is therefore unethical even before the evidence of physical harm is taken into account. Fluoridationists do not have the right to interfere with other people’s bodies, regardless of how much better they think they understand people’s interests than those people do themselves, and neither does anyone else. Those who have taken the time to look at the evidence also know that taking fluoride in water is an entirely unproven treatment, and is therefore a human experiment which violates the Nuremberg Code (Cross and Carton 2003). The idea that the spiking of public water supplies with fluoride in the name of public health is not a medical intervention is a legal fiction.
From what I have seen, Gannon does not bother to address the ethical argument against forced-fluoridation; he simply asserts that it is ethical or, more often, ignores the question of ethics entirely. Apparently he believes not only that fluoride is God for teeth, but that he himself is a God whose job it is to pronounce the truth to the ignorant masses, without reason or evidence. This is what he had to say at the National Press Club on 19 August 2016 (AMA 2016).
I think that it’s perhaps good for the last question to remind us all that we’re in National Science Week, and underlying the thousands of years of ethical medical tradition and what I like to call the art of medicine, there is medical science and we will always go back to evidence for what works and doesn’t work. So I don’t believe in the freedom to take the fluoride out of the water and I don’t believe in the freedom to say that I’m not going to vaccinate my children and do my bit for the rest of society. But I’m there, the AMA’s there to help.
He could have said “I don’t believe in freedom, apart from the freedom of the medical industry to do whatever it likes” – that is what his “ethics” amount to. He could have added that he is a fascist and fascists do not believe in freedom. (As an aside, the idea of thousands of years of ethical medical tradition in the West is farcical. Evidently Gannon is just as ignorant of history as everything else, but that is another story.) There is no acknowledgement from him of the right to informed consent. If we are to salvage some kind of argument from what he said by attempting to fill in the gaps in his gibberish, it is that people do not have the right to choose whether or not they or their children take fluoride for the purpose of preventing tooth decay because the evidence says that taking fluoride in water is beneficial. So the argument is that consequences trump human rights, that the ends justify the means; it is essentially a utilitarian argument. The idea that violating human rights does not have its own consequences, which are independent of any direct health effects and almost inevitably negative, is naive (or cynical). Regardless, even if fluoride were the elixir of life it would be an abuse of human rights, and therefore unethical, to dump it into public water supplies for a claimed medical purpose. As it happens, Gannon makes no attempt whatsoever to provide any evidence of benefit or safety, but I’ll come to that later.
It’s interesting that the quote above is the only comment I can find from Gannon which mentions ethics in the context of forced-fluoridation. According to the AMA website he was “Chair of the AMA’s Ethics and Medico-Legal Committee” for two years prior to becoming AMA president (AMA 2016). He is keen to mention ethics in the context of other issues, but not forced-fluoridation. Presumably the purpose of the aforementioned committee is to figure out how best to get away with unethical behaviour, which he thinks is vital, as indicated by his 30 January 2017 tweet which reads “Welcome to 1st yr MD students UWA. Start with lecture on medical #ethics. As you should. It’s the most important topic of all #almamater”. On 25 November 2016 he tweeted “#WhiteRibbonDay Not just Men against women. Women against men, same sex, elder abuse. No violence acceptable. Ever.” Forced-fluoridation is an act of indiscriminate and ongoing violence against everyone who is subjected to it, so Michael Gannon is the worst kind of hypocrite.
On 15 September 2016 Gannon tweeted “Fewer media voices, a diminishing fourth estate is a threat to good public policy, to democracy” in relation to media ownership in Western Australia. Australia is not a democracy, despite the self-serving claims of the political elite to the contrary, and you cannot threaten something which does not exist. Australia is more accurately described as an elected dictatorship, plutocracy, or pseudodemocracy, as is every other country in the “free world”, even though most do not impose forced-fluoridation. In her 1986 book Fluoride in Australia: A Case to Answer, Wendy Varney wrote “[the NHMRC] opposes suggestions that referenda should be held, or public attitudes taken into account” (21) and “That referendum [in Shoalhaven, New South Wales in 1979] is one of the few in Australia which recorded a vote in favour of fluoridation, but not without a massive campaign by fluoridation advocates in which extra batches of leaflets were air-lifted and dental students recruited when it seemed that the campaign might be lost.” (26) and “While there has been less academic literature in Australia attempting to analyse popular opposition to fluoridation, the pro-fluoridation lobby here has learned well the American lesson that fluoride is not a topic for the layperson and that suggestions of referenda are to be fiercely resisted. That lesson has been driven home further in the instances where fluoridation has gone to a referendum. Out of over twenty referenda held on the issue in Australia, only three results have favoured fluoridation.” (87-88) I have only been able to find eight instances of Australian referenda/plebiscites on forced-fluoridation since 1985. Mount Isa, Queensland in 2013 (Kenna 2013; NWS 2013), Tenterfield, New South Wales in 2005 (TS 2012), Bellingen, New South Wales in 2004 and 1987 (ABC 2004), Clermont, Queensland in 2000 (FO 2012), Coffs Harbour, New South Wales in 1991 (CHCC 2004, 2), and Hastings, New South Wales in 1991 (Randall and Thompson 2014, 140) all voted for sanity. The 2004 vote in Deniliquin, New South Wales was the only result in favour of involuntary mass medication (Sivaneswaran 2010). Tenterfield actually voted “overwhelmingly” against forced-fluoridation in 1962, 1980, and 2005, but has been subjected to fluoride dumping since 2012 regardless (TSC 2017). The 2005 vote was 80% to 20% against (QSW 2008). The voluntary referendum in Mount Isa returned an 89% result against. The 2004 vote in Bellingen was 71% against, and the 1987 vote 2:1 against, but that did not stop the imposition of forced-fluoridation in 2010 (Burnet 2016). Coffs Harbour voted against 63% to 37% in 1991, with forced-fluoridation starting in 2009 (CHCC). Hastings voted against 71% to 29% in 1991, with forced-fluoridation starting in 2012 (Fairhurst 2014). An “overwhelming majority” voted against in Clermont (ABC 2007). The sole pro-poisoning vote in Deniliquin was won by a relatively small margin of 57% to 43%.
To my knowledge, no referendum on forced-fluoridation has ever taken place in any major Australian city. A look at the history of Australian referenda at the National, and State and Territory levels, which are available on the respective electoral commission websites except for Victoria’s, did not reveal any on the question of dumping fluoride pollution into public water supplies. Mandatory statewide forced-fluoridation has always been imposed on Australian populations by politicians, as was the case in 2008 in Queensland when Labor Premier Anna Bligh and her lackeys legislated to force fluoride waste down Queenslanders’ throats (Feeney 2012; SQ 2008), for example. Brisbane was the last of Australia’s major cities to fall to the polluters. At the next state election in 2012, Labor was handed the most severe defeat of any state government in Queensland history (Fraser 2012). (Anna Bligh recently became Australian Bankers’ Association CEO (ABC 2017), in keeping with her allegiance to the corporate elite. So much for the Australian “Labor” Party. Both Labor and the Liberal Party of Australia, which are Australia’s major political parties, have consistently supported illegal fluoride dumping over the decades, a practice which is highly authoritarian, and the latter organised crime syndicate is essentially the equivalent of the Republican Party in the US and the Conservative Party in the UK, despite the name. So much for the “Liberal” Party.) Later in 2012 mandatory forced-fluoridation was removed. As of September 2015, 26 out of 77 Queensland councils polluted some or all of their water supplies with industrial fluoride, with three having naturally heavily fluoride-contaminated water supplies, leaving 48 which had deliberately rejected forced-fluoridation, including the Mount Isa City Council, and including the Aboriginal Councils of Cherbourg, Doomadgee, Hope Vale, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Napranum, Palm Island, Pormpuraaw, Woorabinda, Wujal Wujal, and Yarrabah (Wordsworth 2015). Since then, four more Queensland councils have rejected the polluters in response to popular opposition, namely Gladstone Regional Council (Gellie 2016), Mackay Regional Council (O’Brien and Gordon 2016), Aurukun Shire Council (Miles 2016), which is another indigenous council covering “much of the traditional country of the Wik, Wik Way and Kugu people” (ASC 2017), and Hinchinbrook Shire Council (Rooney 2017). However, Brisbane and nearby areas in South East Queensland (SEQ) are still occupied. Of the 22 councils which currently force-fluoridate, 11 are part of the SEQ Water Grid, including Brisbane City Council. New South Wales is the only other Australian state in which mass fluoride poisoning decisions are made by local government (Varney 1986, 113). The citizens initiated referendum is not part of the Australian political system, so politicians decide when referenda are held, and on what issues. The decision to force-fluoridate the Australian Capital Territory in 1964 was not even made by Parliament, and was instead dictated by Doug Anthony, who was Minister for the Interior in the federal coalition government (Varney 1986, 18). Parliament was also not involved in the imposition of forced-fluoridation on South Australians in 1971 (Akers et al 2005, 36-37).
History suggests that if large-scale referenda had been held prior to the introduction of forced-fluoridation in Australia, the fluoridationists would have been mostly or entirely defeated. There have been 44 nation-wide referenda in Australia since 1901, only eight of which have been successful. In Michael Gannon’s home state of Western Australia all six of the referenda held since the end of World War II have been defeated. In New South Wales only three of the 12 referendum questions since the end of World War II have been defeated, but the last referendum was way back in 1995. In Queensland there have been three referenda since World War II, two of which have failed. In South Australia there have been four referenda since World War II, three of which have passed. The last referendum was in 1991. In Tasmania there was a referendum in 1968 which passed. The only other referendum since World War II was in 1981. It was a farcical exercise in which voters were asked where they wanted a new dam for the generation of hydroelectricity to be built, but not asked whether or not they wanted such a dam at all. A large proportion of voters wrote “no dams” on their ballot papers instead of voting. In Australia the crime of forced-fluoridation was first committed in Beaconsfield, Tasmania in 1953 (Varney 1986, 7). In the Australian Capital Territory there have been three referenda, with the first in 1978 and the last in 1995. Only one resulted in no change, although the 1995 vote was an “entrenchment referendum” which just made it more difficult to change the established electoral system in future. There has been one referendum in the Northern Territory, which was defeated. No doubt the anticipation of defeat is the reason for the absence of referenda on forced-fluoridation.
|Liberal (National)||Liberal (WA)||Labor (National)||Labor (WA)||National (National)||National (WA)||totals|
While working on this article I was sucked into the cesspit of political donations in Australia, information on which is available on the Australian Electoral Commission website. As with other countries, donations to political parties and candidates in Australia are essentially a form of legal bribery. The table above shows political donations from Wesfarmers to Australian political parties. Like Michael Gannon, Wesfarmers is a Western Australian based entity. It owns CSBP, which is a manufacturer of chemicals and fertilisers, including phosphate fertiliser. The hexafluorosilicic acid waste from its phosphate fertiliser operation in Kwinana, a suburb of Perth, is used to pollute Western Australian public water supplies to an “optimal” level (i.e. the highest level the polluters figure they can get away with). The figures in the table are just the tip of the iceberg, though. They don’t include money given by Wesfarmers to “associated entities” of the political parties, or money given by Wesfarmers under the names of its subsidiaries, which include Coles, Bunnings, Target, Kmart, and Officeworks. The following quotes are from a Transport Workers’ Union media release (TWU 2015).
A financial link of $5.3 million exists between Wesfarmers and the Liberal Party, in the form of dividends drawn down from Wesfarmers shares owned by the Cormack Foundation, an associated entity of the Liberal Party.
A further $1.7 million in political donations was given by Wesfarmers and Coles to the Liberal and National parties.
The figures are from the period 2000-2014, and do not appear to include Wesfarmers subsidiaries other than Coles. The TWU conveniently neglected to mention that the Australian Labor Party and associated entities have also been recipients of large sums from Wesfarmers and its subsidiaries. And there is another connection between Wesfarmers and Labor. “Two of Kevin Rudd’s once-upon-a-time advisers, Alister Jordan and Andrew Charlton, became executives at Wesfarmers. With former West Australian premier Alan Carpenter also on its payroll, Wesfarmers/Coles has been described as the pasture to which Rudd-era Labor types went out.” (Knox 2015)
There are additional ways in which corporations can influence politics. One is to influence the commercial media via advertising choices, since the commercial media are entirely dependent on advertising revenue for financial survival. That is especially pertinent to Wesfarmers because, as nearly every Australian knows, some of its subsidiaries are major retailers, with large advertising budgets. Another means of influence is to fund “research”. Colgate-Palmolive funds the work of professional fluoridationist academics, for example.
A thorough examination of the undemocratic nature of the Australian nation-state in relation to forced-fluoridation is beyond the scope of this article, but it is clear that political decisions in general, and forced-fluoridation in particular, are not necessarily determined by the common good, public opinion, or the public will. It should also be said that there are more than a few necessary conditions for real democracy, and that in a capitalist system even the citizens initiated referendum cannot be a genuinely democratic process. In a democratic culture forced mass medication would not even be contemplated – nevertheless, it is conceivable that a referendum in a democratic system could return a result in favour of forced-fluoridation. In such circumstances, the outcome would be undemocratic even if the process were democratic, because respect for human rights is a necessary condition for real democracy, and forced-fluoridation is an abuse of human rights and therefore inherently undemocratic. As Article 6 of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights puts it, “In no case should a collective community agreement or the consent of a community leader or other authority substitute for an individual’s informed consent.” (UNESCO 2005)
On 18 September 2016, Gannon tweeted “Hippocratic medicine older than some of the world’s great religions, every political ideology, trend #ethics”. Perhaps he meant “Hypocritical medicine”, because remaining free of all intentional injustice is obviously alien to him. I think the tweet reveals what the medical industry means to Michael Gannon. For him it is one of the world’s great religions, and an opportunity to engage in politics. Fluoridationism is itself a religious belief which is propagated for political and economic reasons, so it is a perfect fit for him. On 21 August 2014 he said “[Parents not vaccinating their children is] a form of child abuse and people are doing something which takes away from the potential of their children and might harm their children’s friends and their wider family” (O’Leary 2014). The reality is that Michael Gannon, like the worst paedophile priests, is a shameless, mass child abuser himself. Violating children’s bodies by medicating them without their parents’ consent is an abuse of children’s human rights, and therefore forced-fluoridation is child abuse. In the same newspaper article he is quoted as saying “We might need to look at a vaccination caravan or bus to carpet-bomb these problem areas.” Perhaps he didn’t realise that carpet-bombing civilian areas is a crime against humanity, and that his use of such language was highly inappropriate at best. Maybe it was a Freudian slip, considering that forced-fluoridation is also a crime against humanity. On 2 August 2016 he described himself as “a political beast”, as quoted in Medical Observer (Fram 2016). The article continued: “The word beast sums up the animal-like aggression of Dr Gannon’s election campaign [for the national AMA presidency]. He was so critical of Brian Owler’s two-year term that some doctors suggested he was too close to the coalition and his friends within the government of the day.” The Sydney Morning Herald had reported on 29 May 2016 that Gannon had “vowed to repair the [AMA’s] relationship with government, which he says has been partly damaged by speaking out on asylum seekers” (Lee 2016). The article goes on to state that he “named assistant health minister Ken Wyatt and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann among his friends” and that “[Professor Brian Owler] intervened amid concerns a child known as Baby Asha could be forcibly removed from hospital and taken to detention” and “called for an end to the detention of child asylum seekers”. The detention of asylum seekers by Australian governments violates human rights, and violates both international and Australian law (Thom 2009; HRLC 2015; McCarthy et al 2016; RAC 2017). The detention of child asylum seekers is another example of government sanctioned child abuse. So according to Michael Gannon, speaking out about the abuse of child asylum seekers is not okay, and at the same time he is some kind of hero himself by repeatedly speaking out in favour of child abuse in the form of forced-fluoridation. To top it off, he has the gall to accuse others of being child abusers for not consuming the products his industry is selling. So much for ethics.
Science and evidence
It is part of the fluoridationist modus operandi to claim that forced-fluoridation has been scientifically proven to be safe and effective, a claim which comes straight from their parrotmasters at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Dental Association. Fluoridationists like to throw the words “science” and “evidence” around not because they have any understanding of those things, but because they think it sounds good. I started researching this issue in 2004, and have read much of the primary literature on both fluoride toxicity and supposed benefit, and also a bunch of systematic reviews and books on the subject. I have read what the most prominent fluoridationist organisations and individuals have to say on their websites, and have challenged many fluoridationists to cite a single good quality original research study which indicates that taking fluoride in water is anything but harmful and useless, including serial offenders such as the slott machine (Steven Slott, from North Carolina), Johnny’s Johnson (from Florida), and the Parrott (Ken Perrott, from Hamilton, New Zealand). None of them ever can cite a single good quality original research study which supports either of their claims, for the simple reason that no such study exists. (For a while I used the phrase “single good quality study” instead of “single good quality original research study”. Most fluoridationists simply ignore any request for evidence, but the responses I was getting were predominantly the citing of systematic reviews which I had read, and which the respondents showed no sign of having read. Even with the addition of the words “original research”, a large majority of the replies have been references to systematic reviews.) There is not even any moderate quality evidence that taking fluoride in water is anything but harmful and useless. The whole thing is simply a sham. I am in a good position to make that assessment, because apart from the literature I have read and my online skirmishes with fluoridationists, I already had two degrees in the physical sciences from one of Australia’s Group of Eight universities prior to 2004. To “prove” efficacy, fluoridationist “researchers” rely on studies which do not measure individual fluoride exposure, are not randomised, are not blinded, do not properly account for confounding factors, are highly prone to systematic error, and are typically funded by corporations such as Colgate-Palmolive. According to the GRADE (Schünemann 2013, 5.1.1) method of assessment because they are observational studies, as opposed to randomised trials, they start as low quality evidence. The studies all have additional serious limitations and no special strengths, and should therefore be downgraded to very low quality evidence, which is the lowest category there is. Their “safety studies” are no better. Anyone who is scientifically literate does not need to take my word for it, though, or that of the many other qualified people who agree with me. All they need to do is actually read the relevant studies to see how incredibly weak the so-called evidence for safety and efficacy actually is. Michael Gannon displays no sign of having read any of the relevant literature. If he has, he is either scientifically illiterate or deliberately dishonest.
Claims without evidence
On 17 August 2016, in an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) interview, Gannon said “Well I’m glad you’ve mentioned fluoride in National Science Week. I think we should reflect on the benefits that science has brought to all our lives. There is fluoride in the water in the vast majority of places in Australia. A visit to my dentist last week again confirmed how fortunate those of us who grew up in Australia and drink tap water, how good it is for our teeth.” (AMA 2016) That was it. There was no attempt to present any actual evidence. It is not clear exactly how he thinks his visit to the dentist confirmed any health effects of taking fluoride in water. Maybe his dentist told him how wonderful forced-fluoridation is, in which case he is relying on an appeal to authority, which is a bogus argument. Maybe his dentist told him he doesn’t need any fillings, in which case he is relying on a subjective, imprecise form of measurement which most likely also has low accuracy, with a sample size of one and no way of taking into account confounding factors – in short, confusing correlation with causation. It’s just possible he read a dental journal article or two while sitting in the waiting room. If he did, he isn’t letting on, and apparently did not understand what he read.
It appears that Gannon’s public campaign in favour of spiking public water supplies with industrial fluoride pollution began on 20 February 2014. From the AMA (WA) website (AMAWA 2014):
West Australians should not fall for the misinformation being peddled by anti-fluoride groups in Western Australia, AMA (WA) Vice President Dr Michael Gannon said today.
The warning comes after it was announced that an anti-fluoride speaker [presumably Dr Paul Connett from the Fluoride Action Network] was visiting Perth and was attempting to gain media and public interest.
“These groups should not call themselves anti-flouride. They are really anti-health,” Dr Gannon said.
“We have noticed over the last few years the rise of small but extremely vocal anti-fluoride group [presumably Fluoride Free WA] in Western Australia, Dr Gannon said.
“They are using similar tactics that anti-vaccination lobbyists use, namely inciting fear and referencing discredited studies showing the supposed ‘dangers’ of water fluoridation.
“These people love conspiracy theories and they love misquoting research data.”
“It is regrettable that a number of State MPs were willing to meet with members of these peddlers of misinformation, and listen to their anti-health rhetoric.
“Fluoridation has been repeatedly shown to be one of the most practical methods of reducing cavities in children, Dr Gannon said.
“There is clear scientific evidence that fluoridated water is the most effective method of bridging the gap in oral health between different social classes.
“Prior to the introduction of fluoridated toothpaste and mouthwash, fluoridated water reduced the number of cavities in children by up to 60 per cent.
“It is completely safe, cost-effective and efficient. The fact that scientific data proving this is being ignored in favour of misinformation is disheartening.
“The last thing we want to see is this misinformation gaining traction here in WA,” Dr Gannon said.
When Gannon refers to “discredited studies”, what he means is that the studies which are referenced are inconvenient to fluoridationists, so many of them pretend they are meaningless or don’t exist at all. Fluoridationists routinely ignore the fact that many of the studies which indicate harm from forced-fluoridation are better quality studies than any of the studies which are supposed to demonstrate either a benefit or a lack of harm. They simply refuse to apply the same standards of evidence to studies which they think support their case as they do to studies which are inconvenient to them. The reference to “inciting fear” is also hypocritical, since their argument for forced-fluoridation is entirely dependent on inciting fear of supposed negative consequences from not spiking public water supplies with their “preventive” medicine. The reference to “conspiracy theories” is also standard fluoridationist fare. Fluoridationists have nothing intelligent to say, so they often resort to conspiracy nonsense, regardless of whether or not the people they are referring to have actually mentioned any conspiracy theories. I have been watching the Fluoride Free WA Facebook page (now called Fluoride Free WA Party) closely since late 2012, and did some unpaid online editing work on an earlier (than the current) version of their website, and the conspiracy theories jibe Gannon makes is fanciful. One thing Michael Gannon cannot be accused of is misquoting research data on this issue, because his approach is to completely ignore the research data. When he talks about “peddlers of misinformation” and “anti-health rhetoric”, he is describing himself and the rest of the professional fluoridationist psychopaths. He continues with a few marketing lines about the supposed merits of forced-fluoridation, but of course provides absolutely zero evidence to support his claims. The reference to “bridging the gap in oral health between different social classes” is not in line with the 2015 Cochrane review (Iheozor-Ejiofor et al), even though the authors of the review were clearly biased towards making pathetic excuses for the fluoridationist “researchers”. The claim of “up to 60%” reduction in cavities is a case of cherry picking the data and confusing correlation with causation. The claim for cost-effectiveness was always ridiculous, and has been thoroughly debunked (Ko and Thiessen 2015). The idea that delivering fluoridation chemicals via public water supplies for the purpose of preventing dental cavities is efficient is equally absurd. The vast majority of the fluoride pollution which is dumped into public water supplies is not ingested, but is instead used by industry, on gardens and lawns, in swimming pools, in toilets, in washing machines, for showers, etc, and the vast majority of what is ingested never touches the teeth, via either topical or systemic routes. You need phosphate rocks in your head to think that is efficient. Maybe he meant that it’s a cost-effective and efficient way for phosphate fertiliser companies such as Incitec Pivot and CSBP to dispose of their highly toxic fluoride waste. Gannon used the word “misinformation” three times in his little outburst, while spouting nothing but pure pap himself. And if Fluoride Free WA are “extremely vocal”, what is he? Many of Gannon’s frequent brain farts are amplified by the corporate/state media megaphone.
Later that year, Gannon was shooting his mouth off again, as quoted in this 6 December 2014 Daily Telegraph article (Harris and Duck). The Daily Telegraph is a tabloid newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. It has a similar political agenda and intellectual level as Rupert’s Fox News and The Sun newspaper in the UK.
But Perth-based group has been dismissed by the Australian Medical Association as a “vocal hodge podge of conspiracy theorists”.
AMA West Australian President Dr Michael Gannon has slammed [Pete] Evans, saying: “Does he have nice teeth? If so he has fluoride to thank.
“It’s always disappointing when people use their celebrity in a way that is not useful to society.
“In cases like this, when people are simply wrong, we ask that they butt out of the debate.
“Water fluoridation is something that has the full backing of the Australian Dental Association and the AMA, it’s cheap, it’s proven to be beneficial, and data repeatedly proves that it is effective in reducing cavities in children.”
But Dr Gannon dismissed Evan’s argument about the decision by some countries to reverse their water fluoride programs, pointing to the poor level of dental health in Britain, which has been compared to that of Ancient Rome.
“Great Britain is a perfect example of a country that could benefit greatly from fluoridation,” he said.
“Pete Evans is a good chef but he doesn’t have the scientific background to comment on this.”
He trots out the conspiracy theory nonsense again, and the “fluoride is God for teeth” myth with his inane “fluoride to thank” comment. And yes, it is always disappointing when imbeciles like Michael Gannon use their celebrity in a way that is not useful to society. He is simply wrong, and should butt out of our water supplies, and butt out of our bodies because he does not have our consent. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) and AMA are lobby groups which exist to promote the financial and political interests of their members, not to benefit ordinary Australians, so their endorsements do not inspire the confidence of rational people. Gannon goes on again about data and proof, without making any attempt to provide any. He reveals his supreme stupidity yet again with his comment about Great Britain (11% of the population of which actually is subjected to forced-fluoridation), which actually has better dental health statistics than Australia and other countries with high rates of forced-fluoridation, as do some countries with no artificial fluoridation, such as Scotland and the Netherlands. He could have easily discovered these facts via the Fluoride Action Network or World Health Organization websites, or this website, if he were actually interested in facts. Apparently he “was Assistant Master of the Rotunda Hospital Dublin in 2004 – 2005 and then Senior Specialist Registrar in Urogynaecology at St Mary’s Hospital in London in 2006” (AMAWA 2013). Dublin is force-fluoridated, whereas London is not. Gannon does not appear to have learnt anything from his international experience, and even if dental health in Britain were as poor as he thinks, it would not prove that taking fluoride in water is beneficial. He is again confusing correlation with causation, indicating a lack of knowledge of basic statistics, and basic reasoning. He apparently thinks he has a scientific background, but is either scientifically illiterate or playing very, very dumb.
From Gannon’s AMA President account on Twitter (17 August 2016):
I am young enough to both have avoided school milk and have strong teeth thanks to Fluoride @philclark6 @666canberra
Again, this is standard fluoridationist fare. They don’t have any understanding of materials science, and think that making teeth stronger makes them more resistant to dental cavities. They don’t realise that the strength of a material is a physical property, while its reactivity with acid is a chemical property, and the two are independent of each other. It is the reaction of tooth enamel with acid which causes dental cavities. Fluoridationists also do not appear to understand that extra strength in a material is not necessarily a good thing, because it can come at the cost of increased brittleness. That is a basic fact with important implications for design (think engineering, not fashion).
In addition to simply asserting falsehoods, Gannon likes to conflate forced-fluoridation with other issues as an alternative to actually presenting some evidence, which is another common fluoridationist manoeuvre. From Twitter:
30 June 2016
Folate in bread. Fluoride in water. Tobacco control. Seat belts. Public health controls prevent misery, save lives.
14 August 2016
Imagine world without antibiotics, #vaccination, X-ray, Fluoride, clean tap H2O. Average peg out 30yo in #Paleo period #NatSciWk #prevention
17 September 2016
Like #PaleoPete focus on eating whole foods #prevention. But pls no advice sunscreen, dairy, #Fluoride @theheraldsun
18 August 2016
Doc’s not afraid of better health literacy. Beware unvetted tripe anti- #vaccination #fluoride etc @westaustralian
October 17, 2016
Qld,NT #Fluoride basket cases. Don’t let local govt relax seat belt laws or let 12yo’s drink
AMA backs fluoridation The AMA and other health bodies have criticised the decision by many Queensland local councils to stop fluoridating their water supplies.Since the then Newman Government legislated in 2012 to allow…
4 October 2016
Do anti #Fluoride activists know Govt also quietly puts Folate in bread? Doubt any have ever told a mum her baby had SpinaBifida #prevention
October 4, 2016
Excellent piece by @PSyvret about anti #Fluoride dills using same tactics as anti #vaccination activists @AUS_Dental #science @couriermail
14 March 2017
Kids denied #vaccination, #Fluoride, VitK are innocents. Orgy of #confirmationbias must stop @janehansen2000 #auspol dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/byr…
So in Michael Gannon’s sick mind, dumping fluoride pollution into public water supplies is somehow equivalent to folate in bread, vitamin K, tobacco control, seat belts, antibiotics, vaccination, x-rays, clean tap water, whole foods, sunscreen, dairy, and preventing 12-year-olds from drinking alcohol. He appears to be unaware of the irony involved in some of the comparisons, and the silliness of all of them. Folate (Weißenborn et al 2017) and vitamin K (Fujii et al 2015) are essential nutrients, unlike fluoride, which is not a nutrient (Connett 2012) but is a highly toxic cumulative poison and developmental neurotoxicant, like lead, arsenic, and mercury, with no known safe dose. Even so, dumping folate or vitamin K into public water supplies for the purpose of preventing deficiencies would be a very dumb idea, for some of the same reasons that dumping fluoride into public water supplies is a very dumb idea, one of which is that it’s pharmacologically nonsensical because people are indiscriminately and relentlessly subjected to random and highly variable doses, with no provision for individual differences. Tobacco contains significant amounts of fluoride (Müller 2012; Going 1980), which is almost certainly partly responsible for the adverse health effects of smoking. Deliberately subjecting people to tobacco smoke against their will is socially unacceptable, and amongst sane members of society, deliberately subjecting people to fluoride pollution via tapwater is also socially unacceptable. Seat belts are outside people’s bodies, unlike ingested fluoride. It can also be argued that travelling in a vehicle is a privilege, not a right, whereas access to unmedicated, clean water and food is a right, not a privilege. Ciprofloxacin, a fluoroquinolone, is one of the nastiest antibiotics there is, and a major source of fluoride exposure for those who take it (Pradhan et al 1995). The idea of an “optimal” fluoride concentration in drinking water is laughable in general, a fact which is further highlighted by cases of major exposure from other sources, such as ciprofloxacin. Vaccination should involve informed consent and controlled doses, not coercion and random doses, as with other medications. Regardless, dental cavities are not a contagious disease, and even fluoridationists do not claim that people who take fluoride in water are immune from dental cavities. Forced-fluoridation is also imposed on people of all ages, not just children. An x-ray is a voluntary diagnostic tool, unlike forced-fluoridation, which is neither voluntary nor diagnostic. The irony involved in equating fluoride-polluted water with clean tap water as a public health achievement is self-evident. Whole foods generally have substantially lower fluoride concentrations than foods which are processed using fluoridated water (Farkas 1975; Warren and Levy 2003; Cressey et al 2010), so Gannon is advocating a relatively low fluoride option, whether or not he is aware of it. Many sunscreens contain enough salicylate or other neurotoxic chemicals to cause potentially life-threatening adverse reactions in people who are chemically sensitive, many of whom are unaware of their condition, so simply advocating the use of sunscreen without further comment is not very responsible. The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Elimination Diet Handbook has a list of sunscreens which are relatively safe (Swain et al 2009, 113), and there are other means of sun protection. Fluoride is also neurotoxic, and many people are unusually sensitive to it, many of whom do not realise they are fluoride sensitive. Cow’s milk and other dairy products, like the milk from humans, have low fluoride concentrations, most likely as a result of evolution providing a mechanism to protect offspring from the developmental toxicity of fluoride. Alcoholic drinks such as beer which are made using fluoridated water, wine from grapes grown using fluoride-based pesticide, spirits mixed with drinks which are made using fluoridated water, and ice cubes made from fluoridated water all have similar or higher fluoride concentrations than fluoridated water, and fluoride is almost certainly partly responsible for the adverse health effects which drinking alcoholic beverages has been found to cause.
No credible sources
So Michael Gannon provides absolutely no evidence or coherent argument to back up his assertions, but what about the sources he mentions? He seems to be allergic to journal articles, but fond of Rupert’s shitty rags. We have seen that there is nothing intelligent from Gannon in The Daily Telegraph article which quotes him, and the rest of the article is no better. It provides the grand sum total of zero evidence, and starts by calling Pete Evans a “fluoride denier”, apparently oblivious to the fact that the term would indicate someone who denies the existence of fluoride. I don’t know how someone is supposed to deny the existence of something and at the same time, not want it to be dumped into public water supplies. The article goes on to get the name of Fluoride Free WA wrong, calling it “Fluoride Free”, and describe it as a “renegade group”, which is hardly an apt description. It refers to “fluoride tap water”, and says that the “renegade group believes… that it accumulates in the body”. In reality, Fluoride Free WA and others who actually have some knowledge of the issue do not claim that tap water accumulates in the body, they point out that fluoride accumulates in the body, which has been known for a long time and is an easily verifiable fact, which the authors of the article would have known if they had bothered to take a little time to educate themselves. Gannon’s 17 September 2016 tweet appears to refer to an 8 September article in the Herald Sun (O’Brien 2016), which is Melbourne’s version of Sydney-based The Daily Telegraph. The article is not about fluoride, merely mentioning that “[Pete] Evans has also come out against fluoride”, so there is no evidence to be had there. It gets even worse. His 14 March 2017 tweet refers to kids being denied fluoride, with a link to another article from The Daily Telegraph (Hansen 2017), but the article is about vitamin K and vaccinations and does not mention fluoride at all. Of course the idea that anyone is being denied fluoride as a result of it not being dumped into public water supplies is laughable. According to that argument, kids are being denied every medication there is apart from fluoride, because no other medication is delivered via public water supplies.
Rupert Murdoch “journalist” Paul Syvret
But wait, all is not lost, because the “excellent” article from The Courier Mail by Paul Syvret (2016) can still come to the rescue. The Courier Mail is Murdoch’s tabloid newspaper based in Brisbane. (For readers who aren’t Australian, Sydney is Australia’s largest city, Melbourne is the second largest city, and Brisbane is third largest. These three cities account for around half of Australia’s population.) Syvret starts by claiming that his “remarkably healthy teeth” are a “testament to [his] scientifically grounded mother”, who gave him and his sister fluoride tablets as kids. He doesn’t mention his sister’s dental health – apparently a sample size of two would be overkill. He also doesn’t explain what he means by “scientifically grounded”. I’m guessing mother and son have exactly zero scientific qualifications between them. So Syvret relies on a sample size of one and confuses correlation with causation, just like Gannon – no wonder Gannon likes him so much. Syvret goes on to claim that “anti-fluoride ratbags” would describe his mother’s tablet-toting as “medication without informed consent”. I have to admit, I can’t remember hearing that particular strawman argument before. People who are pro-choice on taking fluoride point out that delivering medication via public water supplies is medication without informed consent, and often contrast that with conventional means of taking drugs, such as taking tablets, which do allow for individual choice. It could be argued that there was no informed consent because Mamma Syvret was not properly informed of the likely consequences of giving her children fluoride tablets, but from what I have seen the medication without informed consent argument is, in practice, reserved for the fluoridation of public water supplies. Sometimes those on my side of the argument do oppose the sale of fluoride tablets, but on the grounds of some combination of physical harm, lack of efficacy, and lack of regulatory approval. Neither the US Food and Drug Administration nor the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration have approved fluoride tablets or any other systemic fluoride medication.
Syvret is back on the beaten path with his next attack. He makes the routine fluoridationist appeal to nature, and then accuses “fluoride opponents” of claiming that fluoride “leaves those exposed more susceptible to mind control and propaganda”. You won’t find that claim coming from me, or the Fluoride Action Network, or Fluoride Free WA, or Queenslanders for Safe Water or its president Merilyn Haines (both are mentioned later in the newspaper article), or the book The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson (2004), or many other forced-fluoridation freedom fighting individuals, websites, organisations, and books. Syvret conveniently fails to mention that the claim comes only from the least credible “fluoride opponents”. He then reveals what has provoked his ire, namely the decisions of many Queensland councils to get rid of, or never begin, forced-fluoridation. The focus is on Mackay Regional Council, being the latest culprit. He castigates all of the Mackay councillors who “voted to remove fluoride” for not having backgrounds in “medicine, dentistry or any other scientific field” and proceeds to accuse Merilyn Haines and others of bombarding the councillors with “agitprop”, and describe one of the offending councillors as a “cane farmer and sugar chemist”. I have not checked whether or not Deputy Mayor Amanda Camm has a chemistry qualification, but Paul Syvret does not appear to understand that chemistry is in fact a scientific field. He also conveniently fails to mention that Merilyn Haines and many more of the sane individuals who oppose forced-fluoridation do have scientific backgrounds. And somehow it did not occur to him that if the councillors are not medical professionals and have no relevant qualifications, it does not make sense for them to dispense medicine, let alone dispense an entirely unproven medicine in a highly irregular and unethical manner. Why should politicians do the dirty work?
Next up is an appeal to authority, one of the fluoridationist freaks’ favouritist arguments. The word “evidence” is trotted out, and evidently Syvret thinks that reeling off the endorsements of “the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Dental Association, the World Health Organisation, and the Australian Medical Association” amounts to evidence, but yet again he is wrong. His complaints of junk science, fearmongering, and repeating a lie are pure hypocrisy, and his reference to “anti-vaccination cultists” is just another way of avoiding the issue which his article is supposed to be about. He refers to “anti-fluoride fringe-dwellers”, conveniently ignoring the fact that only 5% of the world’s population is subjected to forced-fluoridation (Awofeso 2012), the facts that even in the US the people of Portland, Oregon voted against forced-fluoridation (for the fourth time) 61% to 39% in 2013 (Schmidt 2013) and the people of Wichita, Kansas voted against forced-fluoridation (for the third time) 59% to 41% in 2012 (Lefler and Calovich 2012), the fact that Australian politicians do not allow the people to vote on the issue because they are afraid of the result, and other relevant facts. He says it is almost impossible to debunk every claim we make, oblivious to the fact that he has not come close to debunking a single claim. Apparently when “the antis (sic)” claim that fluoride is a poison, or the toxic byproduct of industrial processes, it is “patently misleading”. We are supposed to believe that straightforward, highly relevant facts are misleading, in other words. Admittedly some opponents of forced-fluoridation do argue that it is harmful simply because fluoridation chemicals are highly toxic industrial waste products, which although highly plausible is by itself is a weak argument, but again, it is a case of picking on easy targets. Syvret’s claim that “fluoride can be toxic, but in the same way that any substance taken in an incorrect dose can be toxic” is false. Most substances are not viable rodenticides or insecticides, for example, unlike fluoride, which is cheap, effective, and lethal at low doses. Some substances are categorised as “generally recognised as safe”, whereas fluoride is highly toxic to humans. Not only does fluoride have a high acute toxicity, it is a cumulative poison, unlike many other poisons. Fluoride is neurotoxic (FAN 2017), unlike many other substances. A 2014 review article in The Lancet Neurology (Grandjean and Landrigan) identified fluoride as one of 11 industrial chemicals which are known to be developmental neurotoxicants. Fluoride is an endocrine disruptor, unlike many other substances. An article in Endocrine Reviews (Vandenberg et al 2012, 13) identified sodium fluoride as one of 28 reported low-dose endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Fluoride is a potent enzyme poison, unlike most substances, and has been found to interfere with 79 different enzymes (Adamek 2005). The concentration of fluoride in the Earth’s crust is far higher than the concentrations of the comparable naturally occurring poisons lead, arsenic, and mercury. Fluoride is one of the most damaging industrial pollutants, unlike the vast majority of substances, and was already one of the most damaging industrial pollutants before forced-fluoridation started in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1945 (Bryson 2004). There is no known safe dose of fluoride, unlike many other substances. So the idea that the toxicity of fluoride is not quantitatively and qualitatively very different from that of any other substance is laughable. Syvret also fails to mention what he thinks the correct dose of fluoride is, and if he were to specify any particular “correct dose” the doses to which a large proportion of any sizeable population subjected to forced-fluoridation are exposed would differ substantially from that specified dose, because people’s exposure to fluoride from fluoridated drinking water and other sources is random and highly variable.
Treating a headache with a couple of aspirin is not “fine”, as Syvret blithely states, if you are salicylate sensitive. I mentioned salicylate sensitivity earlier, and aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, which is a salicylate. For once Syvret gets something right when he says that taking a whole box of aspirin would be a “stupendously dangerous idea”. Dumping aspirin into public water supplies to prevent headaches would be a dangerous and stupendously stupid idea, for some of the same reasons that dumping fluoride pollution into public water supplies is a dangerous and stupendously stupid idea. The article goes on to make another appeal to nature, pointlessly state that table salt can come as a byproduct of other processes, and try to imply that the toxicity of fluoride is no different to that of table salt. In reality, the acute toxicity of fluoride is far higher than that of either sodium or chloride, and sodium and chloride are not cumulative poisons, unlike fluoride. Syvret could have done a little research, and started by discovering that the acute toxicity of sodium fluoride (which is one of the fluoridation chemicals dumped into public water supplies) is many times higher than that of sodium chloride (ATSDR 2003, 74; Whitford 1990; Dart 2004, 1057), but obviously that would require more intelligence than he can muster. The “certainly lethal dose” is estimated to be “5–10 g sodium fluoride (32–64 mg fluoride/kg) in adults”, while the “estimated fatal dose of sodium chloride is approximately 0.75 to 3.00 g/kg [i.e. 750 to 3000 mg/kg]”. So the acute toxicity of sodium fluoride is more than 10 times that of sodium chloride, and the acute toxicity of fluoride itself more than 30 times that of sodium chloride. According to Gary Whitford, the “probably toxic dose” of fluoride, which can be fatal, is only 5 mg/kg. Sodium and chloride are also essential nutrients, unlike fluoride, but dumping table salt into public water supplies in order to provide those nutrients would also be a stupid idea. As with nearly everything Syvret has to say, “the dose makes the poison” argument and the comparisons with aspirin and table salt are common fluoridationist ploys which I have encountered many times before. They don’t become any more sensible with repetition, or time.
So far Gannon’s golden boy has racked up plenty of points in the stupid column, with nothing in the ethics or evidence columns, but now he actually makes mention of safety studies. For most fluoridationists, just using the term “safety studies” is anathema, but our intrepid Courier Mail journalist is undaunted. Will wonders never cease? So is he about to cite some safety studies which show that the fluoridationists have been right all along? I can hardly contain my excitement. But wait, what is going on? He hasn’t actually cited any studies at all. All he has done is provide a link to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) website. Oh well, I’m sure that when I go to the website I will find as many high-quality safety studies as I could possibly wish for.
Um, well, actually, it seems like there might be a little bit of a problem. There aren’t actually any high-quality safety studies on the NHMRC website which indicate that forced-fluoridation is safe, including the studies cited in its systematic reviews. In fact there is no credible evidence for safety at all, or for efficacy. I haven’t been fooling anyone, have I, so I may as well admit that I have been familiar with the NHMRC website and its reviews relating to forced-fluoridation for years, and known that Paul Syvret and the rest of the fluorigangsters have been full of shit all along. Using systematic reviews as a smokescreen is another tired old fluoridationist tactic. Syvret actually brought up the NHMRC in response to a claim that “no health and safety studies have been done on water fluoridation in Australia”, which he says is on the Queenslanders for Safe Water website. Maybe he doesn’t understand the difference between a systematic review and original research. Anyhow, I haven’t been able to find a single study cited by the NHMRC which was conducted in Australia and which indicates that forced-fluoridation is not harmful. Syvret describes the NHMRC reviews as “lengthy”, presumably as an attempt to impress the reader, deter the reader from bothering to read the reviews (though I don’t think the typical Courier Mail reader has any inclination to read systematic reviews of any subject anyway), and provide an excuse for not bothering to read them himself. Everyone who has read both the 2006 US National Research Council report Fluoride in Drinking Water: A Scientific Review of EPA’s Standards (NRC 2006) and the latest NHMRC review from 2007 knows that the 2006 NRC report is a far more comprehensive review of fluoride toxicity than the pathetic NHMRC effort, which is fundamentally fraud. It is also much longer, but that didn’t win it Syvret’s favour, probably because, despite being seriously flawed itself, it is at least not straight out pro-forced-fluoridation propaganda. The 2016 draft NHMRC review is no better than the 2007 effort.
Our Courier Mail con artist needs to find something to pad out his little article, in lieu of any evidence or meaningful argument, so it’s back to conflation. He makes irrelevant comparisons between fluoride and vaccines, aluminium sulfate, and chlorine. Again, there is nothing new in that. He finds it strange, he says, that “fluoride is singled out as a nasty”. Maybe if he gave it some serious thought he might be able to come up with some reasons why many people are particularly concerned by forced-fluoridation, although thinking is obviously not Paul Syvret’s forte. For a start, there is the fact that fluoridation chemicals have been singled out by fluoridationists as the only medications which are delivered via public water supplies. Why? What is the compelling reason for dumping the stuff into public water supplies instead of delivering it by conventional means, like every other medication? The reasons given by fluoridationists don’t add up, and many people justifiably object to having their human rights gratuitously abused. There is also the fact that it is harder to remove fluoride from water than it is to remove many other contaminants. Relatively cheap carbon filters are effective for aluminium sulfate and chlorine removal, for example, but not fluoride removal (Konno et al 2008). For the latter you need something like reverse osmosis or distillation, which are much more expensive and which provide water painfully slowly. If you want relatively low-fluoride water for showers you need a whole house system, which is very expensive and requires more space than many people can spare. Just on those two points, forced-fluoridation is a really good way of pissing off a lot of people. And I’m sure I’m not the only pro-choice activist who knows that chlorine is often added to public water supplies for the purpose of sterilisation, that chlorine is toxic, and that chlorine gas was used as a chemical weapon during World War I. Apart from the differences in purpose and purification options already mentioned, chlorine does not accumulate in the body the way that fluoride does, and fluoride has a lethal dose lower than chlorine’s lethal dose of approximately 86–170 mg/kg (ATSDR 2010, 13). (In other words, fluoride is more toxic no matter which way you look at it.) Large numbers of people have now been subjected to forced-fluoridation for decades in Australia and elsewhere, and another reason for many people’s anger is that they have personal experience of harm from fluoride to themselves and/or to people they know. There have also been many well-qualified and very rational individuals who have spoken out strongly against forced-fluoridation on scientific grounds, including senior scientists at the US Environmental Protection Agency, and Nobel Prize winners. When comparing the compelling reasons they have given to the twaddle coming from the fluoridationists who are supposed to be experts, there really is no comparison. Finally, just because Syvret doesn’t “hear a peep” about other toxic substances in Australian public drinking water does not mean that people have no concerns regarding those substances. Many public grievances are not expressed as distinct political movements.
The title of Paul Syvret’s drivel is All the Rot Is Ruining Our Teeth, but by the end of the article he has provided no evidence at all to support his opinions, or Michael Gannon’s opinions, regarding forced-fluoridation. Of course that doesn’t stop him parroting the “science” word again, or claiming that “our dental health will be all the poorer”. Notice the change in tense – the title is in the present tense, but apparently does not require any supporting facts because all will be revealed in the never never. So much for Rupert’s stooges.
The Australian Dental Association and Australian Medical Association
What about other sources? Gannon’s 18 August 2016 tweet includes a picture of a short article from The West Australian newspaper. (Perth, Western Australia is Australia’s fourth largest city, and Western Australia is the largest newspaper market in Australia which is not dominated by News Corporation.) The article does not mention fluoride at all, and is just about Gannon warning people not to get their information from “Dr Google”, a term used previously by Tanya Plibersek in relation to forced-fluoridation when she was federal health minister in the Labor government (ABC 2012). Perhaps he doesn’t realise that journal articles can be read online, not having any interest in journal articles himself, and that “Dr Google” is a much better source of information than Dr Gannon, as are other sources, including other search engines, books, and libraries. He loves firing off the tweets, so maybe he’s too busy with that. The ADA website has an unreferenced public relations puff piece titled “Fluoride” which is not just completely vacuous, but also littered with lies. Its first heading is “All natural and effective”. The claim that the industrial fluoride pollution which is dumped into public water supplies, which is toxic waste from phosphate fertiliser and aluminium production, is “all natural” is comical. The article states “Fluoride is not an artificial compound or some sort of medication”. Fluoride itself is the ionic form of fluorine, which is a naturally occurring chemical element. However, the main fluoridation chemicals which are used for forced-fluoridation are artificial silicofluoride compounds, namely hexafluorosilicic acid (H2SiF6) and sodium fluorosilicate (Na2SiF6). There is no such thing as fluoride all by itself, except as an abstract concept or as shorthand for some fluoride compound(s). The appeal to nature being made by the ADA would be a completely bogus argument even if the fluoride compounds used were entirely natural, because whether or not delivering medication via public water supplies is either an abuse of human rights or safe has nothing to do with whether or not the medication is natural, but the fact is artificial fluoride compounds are being dumped into the public water supplies of Australia’s cities, and they are clearly trying to mislead the public. The claim that fluoride is not a medication is a lie. When it is used for the claimed purpose of preventing tooth decay it is a medication, whether or not it actually provides the benefit it is supposed to provide. The ADA and other fluoridationists want to have it both ways. They demand that people trust the so-called medical experts when they say that taking fluoride in water prevents tooth decay, but won’t own up to the fact that it is medication. That enables them to pretend that forced-fluoridation does not violate the ethical and legal principle of informed consent to medical intervention.
The ADA article states “Fluoride is crucial to combatting (sic) tooth decay”, which is another lie. It says “It gives your teeth extra strength when they’re developing so they’re better able to resist the bacterial acid that causes tooth decay”, revealing a lack of understanding of materials science, as explained above. It goes on: “While brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is the most effective way to receive fluoride, taking it through tap water has a considerable effect on the ability of your teeth to fight decay.” If brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is more effective than taking it in water, it obviously begs the question as to why the hell the stuff is being dumped into public water supplies. I have come across fluoridationists who have claimed that taking fluoride in water provides an extra benefit to brushing with fluoridated toothpaste alone, but they either assumed that forced-fluoridation is rational and worked backwards from there, or deliberately lied, because there is no evidence for it. The obligatory appeal to authority is in the form of “health and dental organisations around the world such as the Centers for Disease Control (sic), and the Australian Medical Association strongly back its use” in this particular PR effort. The “around the world” phrase obscures the fact that more people are subjected to forced-fluoridation in the US than in the rest of the world combined, and by “Australian Medical Association” they really just mean “Michael Gannon”. “Fluoride consumption has been scientifically-proven to be of extensive benefit to consumers, with negligible adverse reactions” my arse. The claim for scientific proof is an outright, massive lie. There is no such proof provided on the ADA website or anywhere else. Fluoridationists can’t even provide any credible supporting evidence at all, let alone scientific proof. That sentence is followed by one which claims that dental fluorosis, which is put in inverted commas for some reason, is “rarely visible”, “does not damage teeth”, and “usually only results when young children are exposed to large amounts of adult strength fluoride toothpaste”. So that’s five lies in two sentences, which is pretty impressive stuff.
Most of the article conflates topical and systemic fluoride treatments, and the conclusion is no different. It asserts that fluoride is the “most cost-effective, fair and naturally-occurring way to keep your teeth healthy”. With respect to forced-fluoridation, the claims for cost-effectiveness and fairness have been debunked, so why not throw in another appeal to nature for good measure? The ADA has proven itself to be even more dishonest than Rupert’s slaves, which is quite an amazing accomplishment. That is just the start of the nonsense on the ADA website, though.
The PR puff piece destroyed above is in the “Your Dental Health” section, but there is another PR puff piece titled “Fluoride” on the site which is in the “Issues at a Glance” section. The second sentence of that article, which is also unreferenced, is “As far back as 1909, when a U.S. dentist Frederick McKay commenced a 15 year study with fellow dentist A. V. Black (sic) to determine if the decay-resistant teeth of residents in one Colorado town were the result of fluoride in the water, the naturally-occurring mineral has demonstrated its efficacy in inhibiting the incidence of dental decay.” So we have another appeal to nature and another meaningless claim of efficacy without any supporting evidence, which is actually the second such claim on the page already, because that is also what the first sentence is devoted to. The collaboration of US dentists Frederick McKay and Greene Vardiman Black (G. V. Black, not A. V. Black) was for the purpose of determining the cause of mottled teeth (now referred to as dental fluorosis or enamel fluorosis) in a number of towns, homesteads, and other settlements in Colorado and elsewhere, including Italy. They wrote many letters to each other which are now publicly available on the Northwestern University website, and published a long journal article on the subject (Black and McKay 1916), and the idea that that their work was about supposed decay resistance is laughable, and another lie. Many people suspected that mottled teeth were the result of some characteristic of the drinking water, and by 1916 McKay had come to the conclusion that it was due to some trace element in the water, but there is no evidence that anybody had any idea at that time that the offending substance was fluoride. (G. V. Black died in 1915. The first part of the journal article was written by Black and published in February 1916. The rest was written by McKay and published in May 1916. 101 years later, the ADA is failing Ethics 101.) The phenomenon of mottled teeth was described as a “dystrophy of the enamel” (130), “deformities”, an “injury” (134), and a “lesion of the enamel” (477). The term “dystrophy” was explicitly defined in the article as follows: “The condition resulting from imperfect, defective, or bad formation of growth constitutes a dystrophy; dys– imperfect, defective, bad; trophy– growth, development.” (145) There is very little discussion of dental cavities in the article, with the following being the most detailed statement on the subject: “As to caries, the teeth of these children [in the Rocky Mountain area in Colorado] compare favorably with those of other communities where endemic mottled enamel is unknown. They have a mild climate and almost continuous sunshine during the day. The children are out practically every day the year round, and this in itself certainly has its effect in limiting the amount of dental caries. But when the teeth do decay, the frail condition of the enamel makes it extremely difficult to make good and effective fillings. For this reason many individuals will lose their teeth because of caries, though the number of carious cavities is fewer than elsewhere.” (145) (Black appears to be saying that abundant exposure to sunlight reduces caries rates. We now know that exposure to sunlight generates vitamin D, which is essential for dental health, but vitamin D was discovered and named in 1922 (DeLuca 2014, 2). Whatever his reasoning, which may well have been sound, he clearly did not attribute a relatively low rate of dental caries to mottled teeth. He did overlook another obvious potential reason, which is an increased awareness of dental health among affected populations, leading to changes in behaviour.) Reports in the same article from other endemic areas for mottled teeth either made no mention of caries, or indicated that increased susceptibility to dental decay did not appear to be part of the condition, but made no suggestion that rates of dental decay were lower in those areas than in areas in which mottled teeth were not endemic, let alone suggesting a causal relation (643-44, 785, 897-900). Neither Black nor McKay, nor any of their colleagues whose opinions they related or reproduced, indicated that there was any benefit to be gained from having mottled teeth, or from being subject to whatever caused mottled teeth without actually having mottled teeth oneself. The conclusion of the article makes no mention of caries. The cause of mottled teeth was finally demonstrated by other researchers in 1931 to be fluoride exposure (Roholm 1937, 4). In 1939 McKay (900) had an article published which described the “complete cessation of mottling of the enamel” in Oakley, Idaho and Bauxite, Arkansas resulting from changes from high fluoride to low fluoride water supplies as a “humanitarian service”. In another 1939 article (Dean and McKay) he co-authored with H. Trendley Dean, Andover, South Dakota was added to the list of liberated towns. Unfortunately in later years he started talking about a supposed benefit of fluoride in drinking water, perhaps as a result of being corrupted or going soft in the head in old age (he was born in 1874).
Equally dishonest is the ADA’s claim that “water fluoridation has been responsible for a dramatic reduction in dental decay among the general population since its initial introduction into US water supplies in 1945, and in Australia at Beaconsfield, Tasmania in 1953”, which is yet another claim for efficacy without evidence. Recall the earlier statement that “brushing with fluoridated toothpaste is the most effective way to receive fluoride”. That has fallen by the wayside, and other confounding factors, such as intakes of sugar and nutrients which are essential for dental health, are never mentioned. Then there is another appeal to authority in the form of a list of endorsements, and a meaningless claim of “long-demonstrated negligible adverse reactions”. It isn’t clear whether they mean that it is long-demonstrated that there are adverse reactions but that the severity of the reactions is negligible, or that it is long-demonstrated that there are adverse reactions but the lives of those affected are negligible. That is followed by yet another meaningless claim of efficacy, in the form of a meaningless claim of equity. After all of that drivel, they shamelessly use a “Myths and fallacies” heading. The first sentence under that heading is “There is however a virulent, loud minority who decry the benefits of fluoridation, despite its effectiveness being corroborated by many scientifically-backed studies over five decades or so.” Fluoridationists love describing themselves, so that is where “virulent, loud minority” comes from. Decrying the benefits of something is an oxymoron. The point is there is no credible evidence of any benefit, and overwhelming evidence of harm, and even if that were not the case forced-fluoridation would still be an abuse of human rights. The latter part of the sentence is yet another meaningless claim for efficacy. They just keep hammering that drum. And “they routinely use inconclusive evidence to make definitive statements on the alleged health implications of fluoride ingestion”. I could hardly have said it better myself; that is exactly what fluoridationists do, though “inconclusive” is perhaps a little generous. Apparently state governments are more consistently corrupt than local governments, or as the ADA puts it, “better equipped to evaluate the well-established use of fluoride in bolstering community oral health”. Yes, why not finish with another meaningless claim for efficacy? After all, it’s all they have.
So much for the ADA. What about the AMA itself? I could only find one vague attempt at presenting some kind of evidence relating to forced-fluoridation on the AMA website, in the form of a short article (AMA 2011) about a 2011 report titled “Evidence gathered on health and the environment” from The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW 2011). The article itself merely mentions water fluoridation as something which is included in the report, but has a link to the AIHW website, where the report can be found. The report has a whole two pages of text and one page of graphics on forced-fluoridation, and is just standard fluoridationist propaganda, with appeals to authority and nature, misinformation regarding dental fluorosis, no credible evidence, and a comical failure to distinguish between correlation and causation.
The attitude of the fluoridationists is that they can either ignore the question of evidence altogether, which is Gannon’s approach, or present the most spurious evidence possible, and get away with it. Many of them have a fallback position, which is to place the burden of proof on their opponents when their lies are exposed. In other words, they adopt the “show me the data” mentality which made Robert Kehoe infamous (Nriagu 1998). Kehoe was an American corporate-funded pathologist and “researcher” who defended the addition of lead to gasoline for decades, and was also a key promoter on the safety side of the issue in the early years of forced-fluoridation, perhaps second only to Harold Hodge, another inhuman experimenter on humans (Bryson 2004). The pro-choice argument does not depend on the health effects because forced-fluoridation is unethical regardless. When fluoridationists abandon their “safe and effective” mantra in favour of “show me the data”, they are implicitly admitting that they are violating the Nuremberg Code with their human experiment.
In February the ABC Four Corners television program aired a story called Swallowing It: How Australians Are Spending Billions on Unproven Vitamins and Supplements (Thompson et al 2017) as part of the ABC’s constant stream of free advertising for the medical industry. From the transcript:
DR MICHAEL GANNON, PRESIDENT AUSTRALIAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: It’s very rare to meet an Australian family that doesn’t have some form of vitamin supplements somewhere in the family, and what a lot of Australian families have is very expensive urine.
GEOFF THOMPSON: Melbourne’s Swinburne University is just one of the top Australian universities which have entered into funding deals with Swisse and Blackmores. La Trobe University has agreed to accept 15 million dollars from Swisse to establish a Complementary Medicine Evidence Centre. Blackmores donated five million dollars to the University of Western Sydney where it also funds scholarships. At Sydney University, a 1.3 million dollar Maurice Blackmore chair of integrative medicine is awaiting appointment. Last year even Australia’s peak scientific body the CSIRO signed a three-year multimillion dollar research deal with Swisse. The company is also a sponsor of the ABC’s international service Australia Plus.
DR MICHAEL GANNON: Their margins are tight and I think there’s more and more evidence that they do make the majority of their income from the other things they sell, and the problem lies when they sell things that are potentially useful, potentially harmful.
GEOFF THOMPSON: The pharmacists’ embrace of complementary medicine has put them in conflict with the doctors’ peak body, the Australian Medical Association.
DR MICHAEL GANNON: We’ve got a number of concerns about the use of complementary medicine in pharmacy. If we’re talking about non-evidence based treatments, they’re given a legitimacy by being sold by pharmacists, an important member of the professional healthcare team.
DR MICHAEL GANNON: When we look at the most trusted professions, year on year on year, I’m proud to say that at the top is doctors, nurses, and pharmacists. So that respect has been hard won. That’s put at risk if they’re being seen to promote treatments that increasingly the average consumer recognises might be a load of rubbish.
So Gannon bemoans the fact that taking vitamins is very common in Australia, while pushing for even more forced-fluoridation, even though fluoride is already the most commonly taken drug in Australia, not by choice but because it’s dumped into public water supplies as a supposed preventive measure. Apparently he can’t see the irony in referring to “very expensive urine” and “non-evidence based treatments” in relation to essential nutrients, while promoting the involuntary consumption of fluoride, which is itself a treatment not based on evidence, and not a nutrient. He accuses pharmacists of giving legitimacy to bogus treatments while he and the other professional forced-fluoridation promoters give legitimacy to fluoride-spiked water by talking a load of rubbish about it. The hypocrisy could not be more stark. Perhaps it has never occurred to Gannon, or the geniuses at the ABC, that one of the reasons so many Australians take vitamins and minerals may be that fluoride toxicity has increased their need for them. Fluoride promotes oxidative stress and inflammation (Barbier et al 2010), interferes with enzymes and various biological processes by binding to essential minerals such as magnesium, zinc, iron, and calcium (Adamek 2005, 70), and can interfere with the absorption of nutrients by damaging the mucosa and microvilli in the gastrointestinal tract (Susheela et al 2014, 573). Another reason, which may also largely be a consequence of fluoride toxicity, may be that the health of the Australian population is poor, with high rates of various chronic health conditions for which the medical profession has no satisfactory answers. Many people self-treat due to the lack of a viable alternative. Seeing so many unhealthy people all around them, it is hardly surprising that many people with no obvious health problems are also worried about their health, and take nutrients as a preventive measure. Personally, I do not have a very high opinion of the Australian supplements industry. For one thing, I have not seen any evidence that there is any testing of the fluoride content of its products. I also agree that health research should be independent, not funded by businesses which can profit from marketing disguised as research. The absence of adequate, independent research is a failure of government, and that applies to fluoride exposure and its consequences just as much as it does to anything else.
“Michael Gannon always knew he would be a doctor. As a child he had allergies, asthma and chronic tonsillitis. Nothing dramatic, he says, but enough to make him a regular at the local GP. It was this kind, warm and compassionate GP, Dr Ian Matthews of Perth, who inspired him to study medicine. ‘He was a fantastic role model. Medicine is a wonderful vocation. It is an amazing privilege.’ ” (Fram 2016) This is entirely in keeping with Gannon’s very low standards and religiosity. There have been large increases in the rates of allergies and asthma in Australia in recent decades, and the medical industry is just raking in the extra profits without knowing the cause(s), providing cures, or providing anything more than partial and temporary relief of symptoms. There is a cure for chronic tonsillitis, but that involves removing the tonsils.
Twitter (22 February 2017)
Great advice from our cousins USA. #vaccination is the #publichealth #prevencion triumph of our time. Must never lose gains
It’s interesting that Gannon refers to vaccination as “the” public health triumph of our time, not “a” public health triumph. It raises questions as to whether or not he actually believes what he says about forced-fluoridation, and whether or not what he says about it is simply an attempt to protect the reputation, and therefore power, of the medical industry. The use of the word “cousins” is also interesting, considering that dumping fluoride pollution into public water supplies is as American as dumping people in the street, dumping people in cages, dumping bombs on foreigners, and dumping greenhouse pollution into the atmosphere. There is also reason to believe that fluoridationists are closet white supremacists, but I won’t go into that here.
The latest F-ups from the AMA twit on Twitter:
28 March 2017
#Fluoride a #publichealth triumph. Sadly not across Qld & NSW @Julesschiller @abcadelaide @AUS_Dental #prevention
28 March 2017
Giant cavities in #Paleo PeteEvans’ #Fluoride claims. Do your own research!? 45mins on web not same as BSc or MBBS @AUS_Dental #science
27 March 2017
Please stick to cooking #Paleo Pete. Leave infant feeding, #vaccination, skin #cancer #fluoride to #science experts
Dr Michael Gannon, president of the Australian Medical Association, says that ethics is the most important topic of all while being an entirely unethical human rights abuser himself and criticising others for speaking out about human rights abuse, claims to care about democracy while being extremely authoritarian and turning a blind eye to corruption, refers approvingly to “Hippocratic medicine” while being indifferent at best to the harm he is doing, accuses innocent peope of being child abusers while being a shameless mass child abuser himself, preaches non-violence while being a violent religious zealot himself, dishonestly criticises others for not providing evidence while repeatedly making claims of scientific proof without providing a shred of evidence for them, preaches about science while being scientifically illiterate, accuses others of peddling misinformation while being a braindead parrot himself, accuses others of inciting fear while exploiting fear in his own propaganda, accuses others of being anti-health while being a mass poisoner himself, criticises others for being “extremely vocal” while being a public relations hack himself, refers to “poorly performed research” while ignoring the fact that much of the research showing harm or ineffectiveness is of much better quality than the very poor quality research which fluoridationists rely on, and calls others “simply wrong”, basket cases, stupid, conspiracy theorists, and dills while being a complete imbecile himself. Regardless of what he thinks he is trying to achieve, Gannon is pure evil.
28 May 2018 update: Michael Gannon has ended his two-year term as AMA president. Unfortunately he has been replaced by Tony Bartone, who is also a perpetrator of forced-fluoridation.
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