Getting a grip on the science behind claims about fluoridation

Here’s an interesting graphic on fluoridation and the scientific evidence for it. It is from Ethan Seigel’s blog Starts with a Bang (see Weekend Diversion: Fluoridated Water: Science, Scams and Society). The article itself is a good description of the issues involved in the current debate.

Handmade_Graph_ES-600x490

It conveys some of the points I was making in Is fluoride an essential dietary mineral? More clearly, I think.

It also provides a useful template for placing research findings, and the claims being made about them, into context. Most claims about the harmful effects of fluoride are represented by the red line. They have been found at, and are important at, higher concentration of F. Whereas the beneficial effects are displayed at lower concentration.

The CDC recommended for fluoridated water in the diagram is similar to that for New Zealand (0.7 – 1.0 ppm) (The US has a larger range to accommodate for different intakes of water in different climates)

Remember – this is purely diagrammatic – it shows the principles, not real data.

But next time yet get told by an anti-fluoridation activists how horrible fluoridation is and they make claims based on research, or refer to a scientific paper – think of this template. Ask about the concentrations involved.

See also:

Fluoridation
Is fluoride an essential dietary mineral?
Fluoridation – are we dumping toxic metals into our water supplies?
Tactics and common arguments of the anti-fluoridationists
Hamilton City Council reverses referendum fluoridation decision
Scientists, political activism and the scientific ethos

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17 responses to “Getting a grip on the science behind claims about fluoridation

  1. Pingback: The Daily Blog Watch Monday 17 June « The Daily Blog

  2. RonL http://openparachute.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/tactics-and-common-arguments-of-the-anti-fluoridationists/#comment-40856

    I’ve been fascinated that so-called objective skeptics are unwilling to engage the evidence… just the person… I’m intrigued that so-called objective skeptics simply believe based on faith and are unable to provide the missing evidence when requested.

    It is very telling… Objective skeptics are believers… their faith is based on consensus, not science.

    Ron, no one has been indulging in ad hominem . It is (your) methodology that has been under scrutiny.

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  3. Everybody agrees that tooth decay is the biggest moral challenge of humanity facing us today

    All the world’s science academies – NASA, the Royal Society, the WHO ,the AMS, the Union of Concerned Scientists, all of them. Plus the Kennel Club and the Women’s Guild, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the National Trust, and the Church of England

    They all agree that Tooth Decay is the Biggest Moral Challenge facing humanity since time began

    They all agree that we need to take urgent action on Tooth Decay, right now, before we enter a “death spiral” of terminal tooth decay in which mankind is left like a toothless fool in an Irish pub without a fiddle or a penny whistle

    97% of scientists agree with this, according to a rigged survey by “Skeptical Dentist”

    The other 3%, and some of the 97% who are actually tooth decay deniers who we somehow managed to include in our “consensus”, are actually evil tooth decay deniers in the pay of Big Filling and Big Amalgam

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  4. The Surgeon Generals (4 of them) were making unsubstantiated statements… The evidence doesn’t support such a dramatic claim…

    So all four of them came to the same conclusion…how?
    What about the CDC and the NIH and all the other relevent medical communities? How come they are all saying the same thing and have been for decades now?
    Did they all make the same incompetent mistake at the same time…continuously and repeatedly?
    Or did they quietly get on the phone with each other and crib each other’s notes while at the same time somehow keeping dissenters silenced?
    How does the conspiracy work?

    … point conveniently ignored by consensusism.

    So the various medical communities are ignoring data and that produces a consensus?
    Really?
    (…awkward silence…)
    How? What are the nuts and bolts of the operation?

    Mitchell & Webb – Moonlanding conspiracy

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  5. Everybody agrees that tooth decay is the…

    Andy Scrase, the idea is to take someone’s argument and then switch the labels around.
    You are not supposed to just make up your own personal strawman version.
    Take an argument and then deliberately keep it intact….and only change the labels.

    For example:

    “Some guy on TV quoted some study about how evolution is false. Look! Here’s the link to the article”

    “Some guy on TV quoted some study about how vaccines are unsafe. Look! Here’s the link to the article”

    “Some guy on TV quoted some study about how cell phones give you cancer. Look! Here’s the link to the article”

    The argument is the same. Only the labels have changed. No strawman needed. That’s the whole point.

    “I accept that smoking causes cancer because that’s what the Surgeon General says and every medical community on the planet says.
    I get my science information from mainstream science sources.”

    “I accept that climate change is real because that’s what NASA says and every single scientific community on the planet says.
    I get my science information from mainstream science sources.”

    See? That’s a legit label switch. No need to change a thing and…hmmm…I’m pretty comfortable with it.

    Let’s try it with homeopathy and see what happens.

    “I accept that homeopathy is real because that’s what the NIH and the CDC and every single medical community on the planet says.
    I get my science information from mainstream science sources.”

    Oops! That doesn’t work. You can’t accept that homeopathy is real by consulting with the medical communities.
    Doesn’t work.
    However, let’s adopt Ron’s methodology…

    For I start, I have not read ‘all the denialist propaganda.’ Not even a small portion of it. I have mostly been searching Pubmed, and googling for science and official reports… trying to track down the original data… ie, applying first principles… trying to go back to source.

    “For I start, I have not read ‘all the homeopathy propaganda.’ Not even a small portion of it. I have mostly been searching Pubmed, and googling for science and official reports… trying to track down the original data… ie, applying first principles… trying to go back to source.”

    That works nicely. In fact, it works for any quackery or pseudo-science out there. A creationist would very comforatable saying this.

    Penn and Teller – Vaccinations (Full Episode)

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  6. Pingback: The Daily Blog Watch Tuesday 18 June « The Daily Blog

  7. Pingback: Fluoridation – it does reduce tooth decay | Open Parachute

  8. Pingback: OP: Fluoridation – it does reduce tooth decay - The Standard

  9. the Department of Health’s objectivity is questionable—
    it funded the British Fluoridation Society,
    and along with many other supporters of flouridation
    it used the York review’s findings9 selectively to
    give an overoptimistic assessment of the evidence in
    favour of fluoridation.22 In response to MRC recommendations,
    13 the department commissioned research
    on the bioavailability of fluoride from naturally and
    artificially fluoridated drinking water. The study had
    only 20 participants and was too small to give reliable
    results. Despite this and the caveats in the report’s
    conclusion,23 this report formed the basis of a series
    of claims by government for the safety of fluoridation.
    24
    Against this backdrop of one sided handling of
    the evidence, the public distrust in the information it
    receives is understandable.

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  10. RonL, it appears as though you lost the formatting in your cut n paste, above.

    Like

  11. RonL decided to dump a cut and paste on us from an anti-fluoride website?
    Nice. Well thought out. Smooth move there. Real depth of thinking.

    (….slow handclap…)

    Well, darn. I’m convinced. I can’t imagine a creationist or an anti-vaxxer or a climate denier doing anything similar. ;)

    Like

  12. Pingback: Fluoridation petition – for Hamilton ratepayers | Open Parachute

  13. Pingback: Fluoridation – it does reduce tooth decay | Open Parachute

  14. Pingback: Fluoridation – the violation of rights argument. | Open Parachute

  15. Pingback: Fluoridation and conspiracy theories | Open Parachute

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  17. Pingback: Hamilton gets its fluoridation referendum | Open Parachute

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