Fluoridation and conspiracy theories

I am not one to stereotype people and in my blog posts on the fluoridation controversy I have so far steered clear of the more whacky arguments that come up. After all, some of my friends oppose fluoridation and I would not want to attribute these whacky reasons to them. (Mind you – I have some suspicions).

But it seems that even in little old New Zealand some of the leaders and foremost spokespersons for the anti-fluoridation activists are presenting these whacky ideas. So we can’t really avoid them.

Hamilton oncologist Dr Anna Goodwin appeared for the anti-fluoridationists at the recent hearings held by the Hamilton City Council. She spoke for them at a recent Auckland meeting as one of the 3 “expert” dentists and doctors (although she claims only to have had her road to Damascus moment in the last few months). These people just love titles, don’t they.

This first quote from her is a blatant example of Godwin’s law (rather appropriately in this case Go(o)dwin’s law refers to the  inappropriate use of Nazi analogies in articles or speeches – common on the internet and usually claimed as a sign of desperation). In her submission to the Hamilton City Council hearings she claimed

“Perhaps most disturbing is that the first efforts to fluoridate drinking water were put forth by the Nazis in concentration camps. They observed a mental “numbing” effect on the prisoners that made them easier to control.”

And in a Waikato Times opinion piece welcoming the Council decision to stop fluoridation (see Council’s bold water decision welcomed) she followed this with:

“America’s obsession with fluoridation (and their fluoridation induced brain damage) might explain the US’s dubious political choices over the past 25 years and reckless spending.”

She is promoting the conspiracy theory that fluoride is purposely added to public water supplies to ensure a docile population! (And perhaps giving us a wee peak at her political or ideological stance).

Her conspiracy theories stretches to collusion of the NZ government with fertiliser companies to dispose of a dangerous waste by putting it in our water supplies. (See Cheese is chalk if fluoride is fluoride, press release by  fluoride Free Hamilton):

“I was shocked to learn that, in the absence of any human studies to prove its safety or efficacy, the fertilizer industry held hands with government agencies (in the USA, Australia, and New Zealand) and fluorosilicic acid was deemed an “acceptable and equivalent” fluoride source, decades ago, completely without any real evidence for this assertion.”

I don’t know how widespread these ideas are among the anti-fluoridation activists in New Zealand, but clearly they are not far from the surface with some of the leaders. Conspiracy theories seem to be alive and well in the anti-fluoridation campaign

But here’s an example of an extreme form of these anti-fluoridation conspiracy theories in the US – an interview by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. He discusses addition of  lithium and fluoride to water supplies. The dangers of immunizations are also discussed along with how these poisons are used by design to chemically lobotomize people.

via Neurosurgeon Uncovers Fluoride & Lithium Conspiracies Part 2 of 4 – YouTube.

And there is more rubbish where that came from.

See also:

Fluoridation
Fluoridation – the violation of rights argument.
Poisoning the well with a caricature of science
Fluoridation petition – for Hamilton citizens

Getting a grip on the science behind claims about 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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59 responses to “Fluoridation and conspiracy theories

  1. mmm… now let’s look at this another wayy.

    Canterbury, without water fluoridation, has been NZ’s most consistent rugby team for over a decade. The Waikato, with about half the water fluoridated has been an OK team until they brought in some cherry picked players like SBW to boost their skill level. Then we have the Hurricanes… with about 100% of their water fluoridated… enough said!

  2. Careful, Ron, your FANNZ mates will be picking up that story and run with it.. After all, it’s very similar to what Anna Goodwin says about the US.

    You live in Christchurch, do you?

  3. Ken, how many times to I have to tell you… I have no mates… :-) It’s also very similar to what the DHB used in their submissions, so I wouldn’t be suggesting going there.

    Is it any different from putting up a ‘scary picture’ and saying ‘without fluoride, this is what our kids will look like.’?

    Why do you think I live in the Shaky Isle?

  4. I judge people by their actions.

  5. Oh, I see… You think I’m a Cantabrian because Canterbury whipped Waikato on Friday! You associate me with winners… awe, shucks…

  6. No, not winners, Ron. far from it. Did you not see the QandA programme this morning – Minister warns of ‘misinformation’ over fluoride debate Worth watching the videos http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/minister-warns-misinformation-over-fluoride-debate-5497791

  7. On the topic of Alex Jones, you might enjoy this clip of Mr Jones on the BBC interviewed by Andrew Neil

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/10108702/Idiot-Bilderberg-conspiracy-theorist-Alex-Jones-disrupts-BBC-politics-show.html

    I was laughing, I am sure you will too

  8. Yes Andy, with friends like that . . . .

  9. I’ll have a look at it later… interesting given that the minister’s private views are opposed to mandatory fluoridation… he’s a supporter of pro-choice. LOL

  10. Ken, have read the transcript… He’s dead right; “”I think communities need to be aware there will be highly organised campaigns of misinformation. There will be people who come from out of town and tell all sorts of shock-horror stories around fluoridation. Communities need to know that that’s part of the strategy that these groups run,” Ryall added.

    This applies on both sides… I think the DHB/MOH submission was appalling… it never presented the science… it was based on the ‘we’re the experts, so we know’ platform. Even Councillors have commented on that. When the DHB puts up the ‘scary photo’ as the introduction to their submission they’ve introduced misinformation… some of their photos appear to have been plucked off the net… one shows a negro kid… presumably from the USA given the context.

    How do you show people that all the difference is is 0.3 DMFT per mouth… that is not a scary story… that is not the sizzle needed to sell the sausage… They have a problem..

    How does the Waikato DHB explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato…? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

    I think that explains why the DHB cherry picked data from a decade ago… that, my friend, is mis-information. In fact it’s worst than that…because these officials are supposed to be the authoritative ones… the ones telling the truth.

    So please explain… do you think Ryall’s comments apply to the DHB? If not, why not????

  11. Ron, it is abundantly clear to anyone who watches the video that the minister is talking about the anti-fluoride activists resorting to misinformation – and coming from outside.

    You would have to be an absolute fool to think otherwise.

  12. Andy, the Alex Jones clip is a good laugh. Have you ever been to parliament during question time? It’s not too different to that. LOL

  13. Ken, you obviously didn’t read my comment… I said, “Ken, have read the transcript…” If I’d seen the video I’d have said, “Ken, have seen the video…” LOL

    By the way, I notice you convenient sidestepped the mis-information issue…

    How does the Waikato DHB explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato…? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

  14. OK Ron, I will amend my comment to say that anyone who has read the report or watched the video (do so, Ron, the Minster’s comments are at th beginning) and sees it as in any way accusing the DHBs of misinformation has to be an absolute fool.

    To quote the first line of the report:

    “The Minister of Health is warning communities to be aware of “highly organised campaigns of misinformation” which are being presented by some anti-fluoride groups.”

    And later:

    “There will be people who come from out of town and tell all sorts of shock-horror stories around fluoridation.

    “Communities need to know that that’s part of the strategy that these groups run, and they should look to their local district health boards, their local dentists and the evidence which shows that fluoridation in NZ is safe and does benefit families,” Mr Ryall said.

    Far from sidestepping misinformation issues I am writing a series of blog posts about the misinformation by the activists which the minster referred to.

  15. Come on Ken, don’t be silly!… Of course he wasn’t talking about the DHB, but yo have to admit they didn’t do a good job selling the benefits of fluoridation… and especially conveying the message that 5yo in the Waikato in unfluoridated areas had healthier teeth in 2011 than 5yo in fluoridated areas.

    The fact the murkied the water just demonstrates that both side are quite capable of screwing the scrum… both should be shown a yellow card.

  16. Get you act together, Ron. You claimed the minister’s criticisms applied to “both sides.” Now you admit it didn’t.

    Bit early in the day to start tippling isn’t it?

    As for the DHBs submissions in Hamilton. At this stage I can’t comment because I have yet to watch the videos.

  17. Of course the Minister’s criticisms apply to both sides… but I never said he was applying them to both sides.

    The DHB’s submission was very evidence deficient… it relied on ‘scary photos’ and authority… we say, so you should do.

    When they get up and call the presenters, including Drs and dentists, nutters or words to that effect they have immediately lost their professional edge.

    Scary photos from the USA have no scientific basis in a local dispute.

    Why didn’t they present compelling local data? It’s simple…thee is none.

  18. The minister’s criticism clearly only applies to the anti-F activists. Clearly. Only a fool would say otherwise.

    But your statements of contradictory.

    I will make up my own mind about the submissions advocating continuation of fluoridation when I have watched the videos. Not before – and, please take this in board, not on your recommendations.

    You have proved again and again that you are not credible on such matters, Ron.

  19. My opinion always counts for naught…

    How does the Waikato DHB explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato…? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

  20. If I were you, Ron, I would be far more worried that people think you have no credibility than that they discount your opinion.

    As for your questions I’ll only consider them when you answer this question which is on exactly the same level.

    When are going to stop beating your wife?

  21. Ron, go away and take a course on statistics. Seriously. Do you really expect us to be impressed by the same cherry-picked data points just because you keep talking about them?

  22. Ken, I learned a long ago that it you are driven by what people think about you then you just become part of the consensus… in 12 years of private practice I’ve never advertised my services… I have enough clients to keep me busy enough.

    But thanks for your pastoral concerns.

  23. Chris B, I know enough about statistics to know that statistical significance does not necessarily equate to clinical significance and association does not equate to causality.

    If you are such a whizz on stats, how do you explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato…? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

  24. Ron, you seem to have an incredible lot of time left over from servicing your clients, or being serviced by them, to dabble in the leisure pastime of Internet debate.

    I can’t keep up with you here and I know you comment in lots of other places..

    You could never have got away with this if you were working for a research institute. You just wouldn’t have the time.

    Andy is just as bad.

  25. “Andy is just as bad.”

    No I am more selective. I only deal with cunts like Stuart Matheson in future

  26. Ken said, “You could never have got away with this if you were working for a research institute. You just wouldn’t have the time. ”

    You are right… I’d be too busy sucking up to the consensus machine.

    And you continue to ignore the worst kind of mis-information…

    How do you explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato…? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

    Clearly you can’t!

  27. You have called me worse, Andy.

    Do you swear like that on Treadgold’s blog? He has blocked me for far less.

  28. You are the type that sucks up, are you Ron? Perhaps that explains your inability to criticise FANNZ.

    And you still ignore my question. When are you going to stop beating our wife?

  29. And, Ken & Chris… look at the 2010 data for 5yo

    Non fluoridated children have more caries free mouths and fewer dmft that fluoridated kids.

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2010.xls

    How on earth can your stats explain that away…???

    Not that I’m implying that fluoridation CAUSES increased touch decay. In the Waikato it’s just an association.

  30. Ron, how can you explain away the fact that you are beating your wife?

  31. Ken asked, “Ron, how can you explain away the fact that you are beating your wife?”

    The thing is, Ken, you have just made that up… the question is based on fantasy on your part.

    Are you saying the MOH have just made up there data?

    Is that how you are suggesting 5yo kids in the Waikato in non-fluoridated areas had healthier teeth than kids in fluoridated areas.

    Wow! And you are concerned about those who object to fluoridation making things up…!!!!

  32. No, I am saying you are making it up. If you disagree get a blog a post your analysis just as I have done. Because you have no credibility here I am not interested in your claims.

    By the way Ron, I have watched the DHB/MoH submission in Hamilton (Day, part 2). Thought it was very good on the whole – even has a chemist presenting (he was good). Only thing I would have added is information on the chemical analysis of HFSA – and something on critical thinking with examples of how the activists have dishonestly used citations and misrepresented the science.

    I really am surprised that councillors didn’t take all this on board. Can only put it don to their lack of skills in critical scientific assessments, the unbalanced nature of the hearings where hearing the truth once gets swamped out by a lie told 10 times, and the biased starting positions of a couple of the councillors (Dave Macpherson blatantly so).

    By the way, didn’t see the MoH slides you keep referring to. You must have got that elsewhere.

  33. Conspiracy theories about “the scientists” don’t work. There’s no global conspiracy of scientists lying to you about fluoridation nor is there a global conspiracy of scientists lying to you about the moon landings or climate change or vaccines.
    The idea is silly. It betrays a fundamental incomprehension of how the scientific community does their job.
    The way you debunk one conspiracy is the way you debunk them all.
    They all share the same basic structural flaws.

    There are two questions that science deniers of all stripes fail to answer: When and How.
    When did the conspiracy start?
    Was it 5 years ago or 50 years ago? They can’t even give you the decade it began. They have no idea. They just know that it “is”.
    Then there’s the problem of how.
    How do you keep a conspiracy like that under control without anyone spilling the beans? How do you direct it so that everyone says the same thing?
    Someone has to make the telephone calls.
    Someone has to sign the checks.
    Someone has to make the day-to-day decisions.
    Is it NASA? Ok…so who in NASA? And how come NASA isn’t spilling the beans? (It’s a very, very big organization. People come and go all the time.)
    Is it “the gubbiment”?
    Ok, which one?
    Oh the US government? Ok…um….again, which one? You mean the Obama Administration? That can’t be right. It’s been going on for longer that that. How about George Bush? Nope. Longer. Ronald Reagan? Nope. Longer.

    When Alex Jones gets cornered, he usually covers up his ignorance with an endless rant of Gish Galloping. It’s not surprising that he’s bought into every single loopy global conspiracy theory out there.

    Conspiracy theories conspiracy

  34. And Ken, you continue to ignore the worst kind of mis-information…

    How do you explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato… in 2010 and 2011? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2010.xls

    Clearly you can’t!

  35. Ron, I have found you peddle the worst sort of misinformation. That’s why you have no credibility.

    If you think you are on to something, set up you own blog and present your information.

    This is no more the place for your inventions than it is for my claim you are beating your wife.

  36. Ken, this is not about my credibility…

    How do you explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato… in 2010 and 2011? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2010.xls

  37. My explanation is that it is a figment of your imagination. I come to that conclusion be because you have no credibility.

    You can prove me wrong in the same way I proved FANNZ lied. Do an analysis and present the data on your blog.

    If you continue to refuse to do so I can only conclude that it is a figment of your imagination.

    Now go away.

  38. Ron, we looked at the data. There was an annoying, drawn-out thread on the topic. You were there.

    I for one came to the conclusion that you were engaged in motivated cherry-picking of data, and that you either did not understand or willfully chose to ignore any principles of statistical analysis.

    Yet you still bang on about the exact same thing like some broken record, as if this is some novel argument of which we were previously unaware. Now, if you think tht dredging up the same tired old argument ad nauseum has a positive impact for your credibility with people who were there for the last time round and remember it well, then you need to go away and reconsider your approach.

  39. Ken, there is no need for any analysis…

    you’ve obviously looked at the moh data…

    How do you explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato… in 2010 and 2011? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2010.xls

  40. Chris B, can you show me the MOH statistical analysis that explains this fact away?

    How do you explain that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato… in 2010 and 2011? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2010.xls

  41. Chris B said, “Ron, we looked at the data. There was an annoying, drawn-out thread on the topic. You were there. ”

    Actually, Chris, neither you or Ken did look at the data… Ken stopped at 2000… he was too embarrassed to discuss the fact that that 5yo kids in non-fluoridated areas have healthier teeth than 5yo in fluoridated areas in the Waikato… in 2010 and 2011? That’s a major problem…

    Click on 5yo tab and look at fluoridated and non fluoridated for Waikato.

    How do you account for 64% of non fluoridated 5yo being caries free but only 57% in fluoridated areas????

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2011.xls

    http://www.health.govt.nz/system/files/documents/pages/age5-year8-oral-health-data-2010.xls

  42. Ron, what part of “We looked at the data the first time around” do you not understand? Flinging links to the raw data at us and plucking out isolated data points that conform to your prejudices is no substitute for actual analysis.

    I am not going to waste my time explaining statistical analysis to you. I am sure as hell not going to conduct that analysis for you because you are lazy.

    And yes, this was all covered in the previous thread.

  43. How do you explain that blah, blah, blah…

    Chris B, can you show me the MOH statistical analysis blah, blah, blah….

    You can’t shift the burden of proof, Ron.
    Stop being lazy. Do your own work.

  44. RonL

    OK. I’ll bite. (Note: I completely disagree with your interpretation of cherry-picked data).

    Perhaps the DHB has put a higher level of “free” child dental services into the non-fluoridated areas in order to deal with caries? Net result: reduced caries in non-fluoridated areas because surveys of caries in 5 year olds can’t count the stuff that’s already been treated. (Primary dentition caries is treated by extraction, not fillings).

    That’s a possible answer for you. Now you can look up the figures for DHB dental input between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.

    For extra points, you can also compare the rates of previous dental extractions in 5 year olds in fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas. It gives a rate for previously treated caries, not just existing caries.

    You asked for a reason. That’s at least one possible reason to explain your cherry picked data. Now it’s up to you to follow up. Presumably, as you have claimed a PhD, you have the ability to find the data for yourself instead of asking others to do it for you.

    Of course, you will then let others know your findings, rather than keeping them to yourself, because that’s the way science works.

  45. Stuart, I have decided to treat Ron’s childish repetition of his problem as spam and set up filters accordingly.

    We have thrashed out this question here, Ron has had his answers, and his continuance with it is of only nuisance value.

    If he has a serious issue then he would set up his own blog, present his data, make his case and open it up to questions and discussion.

    I don’t in anyway want to inhibit proper discussion, just provide some controls which prevent such silliness. Ron is welcomed to comment on other matters but please, let’s put this one to bed – at least on this blog.

  46. No problem, Ken.

    I was a little concerned that lurkers may have thought that Ron had a valid point.

    Unless you know that the science of fluoridation is a result of decades of research, tens of thousands of papers, the incremental development of consensus amongst thousands of scientists, then Ron keeping asking about two numbers in a spreadsheet may seem significant.

  47. Yes, Stuart, I agree. This is exactly why Ron continues to make these points ad nauseum well after they ad been dealt with. He has an agenda to promote which involves misinformation and confusion.

    My attitude is that if he wants to promote such an agenda he should put the effort into his own blog, not childishly try to disrupt more fruitful discussion here.

    He is quite welcome to contribute to and initiate honest discussion here, but I will try to filter out this sort of childish behaviour from him.

  48. ” Unless you know that the science of fluoridation is a result of decades of research, tens of thousands of papers, the incremental development of consensus amongst thousands of scientists, …..”

    Sounds strangely…familiar somehow. ;)

  49. Truth often sounds strangely familiar…

  50. Just looking to see my new avatar?
    Cedric looks very cross.

  51. I lost my avatar? …….Oh………
    I haz a sad.

  52. Pingback: The Daily Blog Watch Monday 8 July « The Daily Blog

  53. The claim is a common one, sure enough. I’ve heard very much the same thing here. What I find more absurd is the persistent claim that safety and efficacy have not been tested… Of course, the anti-fluoridation advocate will then go on to point out numerous studies that have tested it and, in their opinion, demonstrate that it is not safe etc.

  54. I really wonder how many people they fool with their story about HFSA not being tested. I would have though most people could reply that neither has Cl2. It would be completely unethical to test such corrosive reagents on anyone.

    I guess its all part of their pretence that we are drinking HFSA and not the fluoriude anion.

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