Book Review: THE CASE AGAINST FLUORIDEAliss Terpstra November 1, 2010
Authors: Paul Connett, James Beck, Spedding Micklem
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Book Publication: 2010
How Hazardous Waste Ended Up in Our Drinking Water and the Bad Science and Powerful Politics That Keep It There – “Alfred North Whitehead said the scientific method means leaving ‘options open for revision.’ An ancient Roman adage says that ‘whatever touches all must be approved by all.’ These characterizations of science and democracy are the reasons for reading this book. Especially if you and your family are drinking administratively mandated fluoridated water.” – Ralph Nader
In this timely and important book, Dr. Paul Connett, Dr. James Beck, and Dr. H. Spedding Micklem take a new look at the science and politics behind water fluoridation. They argue that endorsement by dental and public health officials of water fluoridation as a safe and effective (and thus justifiable as mandatory) public health measure is not backed by regulatory responsibility, proof of safety, or evidence of benefit.
The authors note that when the U.S. Public Health Service endorsed water fluoridation in 1950, there was already ominous evidence of its potential for harm beyond the visible result of spotted teeth (dental fluorosis). Now, six decades later and after most countries have rejected the practice, 70 per cent of Ontario’s population, as well as 250 million Americans, are still drinking municipal water fluoridated with industrial fertilizer factory scrubber waste, known as “fluorosilic acid.” Health Canada, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Ontario Dental Association continue to promote it despite increasing evidence that it is not only ineffective (and thus, cannot be justified as necessary), but also harmful to fetuses and bottle-fed infants, and potentially hazardous to adult human health.
From an ethical standpoint, say the authors, water fluoridation is a bad medical practice: individuals are being forced to take an unregulated and unapproved medication hidden in drinking water without their informed consent, and there is no control over the dose or monitoring of toxicity or possible side effects.
Painstakingly documented, fully referenced, and also highly readable, The Case Against Fluoride brings new research to light, including links between fluoride and harm to the brain, bones, and endocrine system (especially thyroid function), and argues convincingly that the evidence that fluoridation reduces tooth decay is extremely weak and cannot justify the strong evidence of harm.
The authors are skilled teachers – their efforts have produced a valuable handbook for consumers, public health policymakers, and activists alike that makes complex fluoride science accessible, and lucidly frames it in the wider context of Precautionary Principles.
Editor’s note: This book can be hard to find in Canada. For more information, go to: www.chelseagreen.com, call 802-295-6300 or write: Chelsea Green Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 428, White River Junction, VT 05001.
Aliss Terpstra is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner (CNP), health and science writer, health freedom activist and former doula. She graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition in 2003 at the age of 50 and began a small private practice. She was also the head nutritionist at The Natural Food Depot in Scarborough from 2007 until 2014. She is now semi-retired. Aliss was part of the Midwifery Task Force of Ontario that helped reform the Health Professions Regulations Act to include midwifery as a publicly funded autonomous health profession in 1995. She was a doula for 30 years. Since 1999 she has worked with Dr. Joseph Mercola and the Fluoride Action Network to end water fluoridation.