But it does appear to be the case that a tiny minority of individuals are still against fluoridation. It is difficult to imagine why they oppose something which obviously promotes so much benefit to health. Unfortunately, many opponents still make the wildest statements, which have not been proven by controlled, scientific investigation. To the lay person caught up in the debate, it is a question of trying to sort out the facts from the propaganda.

No harm to the kidneys and no allergic reactions

It is interesting to note that the allegations of anti-fluoridation groups about medical side effects are invariably refuted by the specialized research organisations and medical experts such as the Royal College of Physicians. Kidney problems and allergic reactions are often cited by opponents. By contrast, the National Kidney Foundation of America says that fluoridation does not harm the kidneys. And both the American Association for the Study of allergy and the British Society of allergy and Clinical Immunology insist that there is no evidence of intolerance to fluoride as used in community water fluoridation.

No association with cancer

Nothing could be more calculated to frighten people than to suggest that something causes cancer. Some people have made such a claim about fluoridation. There is no scientific evidence for this. The claim, however, is clearly capable of upsetting individuals who live in an area that is already fluoridated or is about to become fluoridated. Throughout the world, the US National Cancer Institute, the Royal Statistical Society, Oxford University, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Royal College of Physicians have all refuted unanimously the claim that fluoride causes cancer. In South Africa the Cancer Association of South Africa and the South African Society for Medical Oncology support water fluoridation.

To show that fluoridation is a cause of cancer, it must be demonstrated, with accepted epidemiological methods, that it significantly increases the incidence of cancer in a community. So far, this has not been shown. The studies that have been published that have made such claims have all been discredited for unscientific manipulation of the facts. Each time, the same data have been re-analysed correctly, and shown to have been incorrectly and unscientifically manipulated to show a relationship that just does not exist.

No Difference between natural and adjusted fluoridation

It has been claimed that the fluoride occurring naturally is not the same as that used when adjusting the levels of fluoride in the water supplies. The fact is, that the body uses the fluoride “ion” (electrically charged atom), which is the same whether the fluoride in the water has come from the rocks and soil, or from a chemical added under controlled conditions.

Evidence from the most extensively fluoridated country in the world

The United States is the most extensively fluoridated country in the world. Over half of all Americans drink fluoridated water. Currently, 42 of the largest 50 cities in the US fluoridate their drinking water supplies. The safety aspects have been of prime concern to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which fully endorses fluoridation and actively promotes it. Fluoridation is also supported by the American Dental and Medical Associations and by the American Oral Health Institute, which has published a 180-page long analysis showing how anti-fluoridation groups abuse basic scientific principles in putting across their particular viewpoint. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also supports water fluoridation.

Support from our public representatives…

All the major political parties in South Africa support water fluoridation. The Minister and Department of Health is leading the campaign to fluoridate the piped water supplies in South Africa, and is supported by the Minister and Department of Agriculture, and the Minister and Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.

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