24th January 2016
"Councillors have a responsibility to uphold the basic Human Rights of the people they represent to choose what medication they and their family wish to take, and not have it enforced through their water supply."
(Councillor Adrian Underwood, South Ribble District Council,
First Chairman of North West Councils Against Fluoridation, !989)
Two very different campaigns.
Whilst Councillors in Wakefield, UK, get dragged into the same old arguments, the fluoride challenge gets serious in Oz
24th January 2016
Here we go again! Wakefield Council in Yorkshire has been presented with a dossier of evidence on the medical effects of fluoridated water. The local newspapers grab the story and run with it - and instantly the trolls emerge from their dens! What passes for intellectual debate on the Internet has now degenerated from what was originally little more than mildly amusing comedy into infantile farce.
The whole tedious confrontation over scientific evidence reminds me of that dreary old slapstick circus intermission, when wildly exuberant clowns threw buckets of water at each other, whilst the Ringmaster supervised the comedy routine.
But it is the persistent false argument promoting the so-called science of fluoridation that provokes and maintains the interminable debate.
The fundamental requirement for informed prior consent to medication is one of the principles that lies at the heart of the framework of ethics and law that we have developed over centuries. It is these principles that govern the way that the State is allowed to act in ruling the people.
The legal system is designed to ensure that we, the people, are able to enjoy those rights that are considered to be at the heart of the way that our society operates.
The fundamental question raised by fluoridation is, does it cross the boundary between what is right and what is wrong?
In a landmark legal case in Australia in 2011, Judge Peter Biscoe ruled that the act of fluoridation could not be 'unfettered'. Even if legislation is in place that permits the practice, if some other legal constraint applies, then the State must abide by both sets of law.
Quite simply, you can't choose which laws you are inclined to obey and those that you ignore - the law applies to us all, including the State itself.
And medicinal law is one such additional hurdle - as fluoridation proponents are all too well aware. If you can force the State to recognise this, then fluoridated water - if actually licensed as a drug - even then could only be legally sold in properly labelled bottles!
The Federal challenge - whose law is it anyway?
The Oshlack v Rous Water case in New South Wales in 2011 only confirmed that State law endorses fluoridation and that the Rous Water project had complied with that branch of law dealing with the environmental and planning issues involved in the specific Rous Water project,The application of medical law was not resolved, even though clearly dealt with by Justice Gillard back in 1964.
Since then, this battle-scarred but unbeaten community has determined to take the matter above the State itself. Now the redoubtable Al Oshlack and his band of warriors in Oz leading the Fluoride Free Northern Rivers campaign have raised the cash needed to fund that challenge, and have found a lawyer to take their case before the Federal Court.
By calling the shots at the Federal level they are now demanding that the ethical and legal issues raised by the refusal of the medicines regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), be settled once and for all. If fluoridation law is indeed 'fettered' then they want that established beyond challenge.
Quite simply, they're demanding that Federal laws on medicines be implemented fully over fluoridated water.
And if they can do that in Oz, the world-wide implications become very significant indeed. The law respects a precedent - at least once it's been set!
Time to nail down the lid on fluoridation's coffin
For the first time a legal action addresses the real issue that concerns the real people out in the streets, in their homes , their schools, everywhere - mass medication without consent. And the rest of the world simply ignores this incredibly important development.
I suspect that both sides have now become so hypnotised by their own obsessions, so bemused by their own self-importance as experts, that they have lost the ability to understand the Big Picture, and why this case deserves all the support it can get.
I have been saying and proving for fifteen years, fluoridated water is in law a medicine, drug, therapeutic agent - call it whatever you like . If this is true then the right (not the power) of the State to impose its consumption without consent is unsupportable.
As I and Bob Carton warned back in 2003, once fluoridation is recognised as a violation of medical ethics and human rights, then fluoridation will at last be consigned to history. It has indeed been the greatest medical fraud ever perpetrated on the people.
So don't look away now - you may miss the final nail being driven into its coffin!
In the same way the Ministry of Silly Walks acts as Ringmaster to the fluoridation farce, knowing that it's all part of the programme to entertain the public, and poses no danger to running the show. Indeed, the knock-about slapstick by the Men in White Coats is all an essential part of the programme to send everyone home happy and contented.
Time to stop digging
For the past 15 years I have been advising people that they need to adopt a different approach if they really want to settle this confrontation between the fluoride fundamentalists and true science.
Councillors are not, in the main, scientists. Nor are dentists. They don't understand the technical arguments, and simply parrot whatever beliefs have been planted into their heads in the past.
There's no point in continuing such irrational and uninformed arguments - when you're in a hole, stop digging!
Answer the question
That alternative approach is to pose the ridiculously simple question, what the Hell are we actually talking about here? For 15 years I have asked what, precisely, does fluoridation entail?
It is the action by the State of deliberately administering an active substance to members of the public in order to prevent a non-contagious and generally non-life-threatening disease.
Regardless of whether a person has, or is likely to develop, that disease, legal safeguards have been established to ensure that the practice may only be carrried out after the person provides fully informed and legally valid consent.
If no such consent is provided, then it is ethically and legally prohibited.The question of whether or not it actually works is irrelevant.
The appalling disclosures of the Nuremberg Trials after the Second World War left a deep aversion to State-imposed medical experimentation. This has become deeply ingrained in the public consciousness.
And, since the evidence that is claimed to support the practice's safety and efficacy, has not been properly clinically verified, existing fluoridation schemes are indeed, merely extended versions of dodgy experiments on the public, expriments that go back over 60 years, but that still continue today.
The irrelevant argument that fluoridation is 'safe and effective'.
But there is a more urgent and basic issue here. The single thing about fluoridation that is of most concern to the ordinary person in the street is that it is a form of State-imposed 'mass medication'.
The people consider that their right to decide for themselves whether or not to swallow it has been taken from them.
Resolving this complaint does not require us to try to prove or disprove that the assertion that fluoridation is safe and effective is true - indeed, it's entirely irrelevant.
Blackpool's Dental Milk plan referred
to National Food Crime Unit
Well, the bovine Blackpool Council finally fell for it! On Monday evening it decided to supply fluoridated milk ('Dental Milk') to primary school kids in all of its schools. This has been simmering in the background for several years, spurred on by the private sector Borrow Foundation.
This raises some very interesting legal points, of which the Council has been fully aware for over two years (because I provided them with a summary of them.) But it appears that their legal advisers have ignored these objections,
It's time they were reminded that Councils need to be very cautious over supporting any medical interventions that their supposedly expert health advisers reccommend, because they could attract unwelcome attention from some very interested parties outside..
Calling in The Heavy Squad.
Milk is a food, and it's a criminal offence to claim that any food has a medicinal property. I have stated this many times in the past, and others who are more experts in law have agreed that the claim that fluoridated drinks are not medicines is 'a legal fiction' ( that means it's a lie!).
Our regulators of food come down heavily on people claiming that some food cures a disease, so I have referred the whole matter to the Food Standards Agency's National Food Crime Unit for investigation. Now we sit back and watch what happens.
Of course, it's entirely possible that nothing will happen, that this whole parody of 'evidence-based dental science' will be swept under the carpet. It's happened before. But there are powerful grounds for real concern this time.
The NHS has a duty to ensure that its professional medical and public health staff demonstrate the highest level of professional competence. If there's no sound proof that some proposed intervention is both safe and effective (yep - there's that tired old catch-phrase again!) then they have a duty not to go ahead regardless.
That duty includes making sure that they understand the meaning of evidence and how to decide whether it's reliable. In this latest round of debate in Blackpool, the Council has been repeatedly assured that there is plenty of sound evidence to confirm that drinking dental milk reduces dental decay.The World Health Organisation is a much-quoted authority on the subject, so it must be true then.
An inconvenient absence of evidence.
Well, others far more familiar with real science that the Blackpool health advisers seem to disagree. The internationally respected Cochrane Collaboration took a look at this wretched product back in 2005, four years before the 2009 WHO review. Only two published up that date "suggested" some possible support for the claims, but overall the evidence was far from conclusive. Every other research study published before the 2005 Cochrane review and up to the date of the WHO review, was rejected by Cochrane.
And then, last year, the Cochrane team updated their work. And this time they not only downgraded their support for earlier studies, they also rejected all subsequent studies, including the ones that WHO had found so agreeable up to 2009.
Admittedly, this time around Cochrane did find one new study - the only one in the past ten years that appeared to endorse the value of this product. But then they decided, Nah! More rubbish! and threw that out too. Like all the
others, it was of very poor quality and strongly liable to bais. Now where have we heard that before?
We're dealing with seriously bad research here. There is, it seems, a lot of it about! So it looks as if all of the studies that WHO considered to be sound, and that Blackpool's Councillors were assured could be relied on, were in fact entirely worthless.
So, do you really think that this is the quality of 'evidence' that a national public health service should be relying on, especially when dealing with our kids' well-being? I suggest that it's not.
That old 'mass medication' spectre again.
Fluoridated milk is a medicinal drink, and must be licensed as such before it's legal to supply it. And it's not, and never has been - I suspect that the proponents don't dare to go down that path!
So the Council's decision to endorse its supply to the school kids is going to be regarded by the public, like fluoridating the municipal drinking water supplies, as non-consenting and unlawful mass medication.
Consent - wot, me?
But surely, you might ask, the parents will be able to refuse to consent to their kids having this fake medicine? Dream on! Look,if it's a fake medicine then parents cannot legally agree to their kids being given it at all! Try arguing to a court that the old drunk you kicked around in the street consented to you inflicting actual bodily harm.
During the run-up to this fiasco, parents were assured that, if they don't want their kiddies to drink this stuff, then they would be able to 'opt out'. But now, even that 'privilege' appears to have been snatched away from them - rejection is no longer an option.
Unusually for a Local Authority, Blackpool Council provides a free school breakfast for all its primary school kids. It seems that now the cunning plan is to pour this 'Dental Milk' onto their cereal, whether their parents agree to that or not. The fluoride pushers have been longing for ways to get everyone involved in their favourite fantasy, and now they must think it's Christmas for them, all over again. From now on there'll be no way to prevent the kids getting this stuff.
And in a stomach-curdling display of TV shmaltz and idiocy yesterday, one TV reporter was shown interviewing 3 year old infants at a Blackpool school, and asking them if they thought it was a good idea! Yes, precisely - you really do expect a 3 year old to have a meaningful insight into the best way to stop their little teeth falling out! (News - they're going to fall out anyway - that's what infant teeth do)
This charade has gone on much too long. It's time to see whether ' Them in Charge' down in London are prepared to enforce the laws that have been passed to protect us, and our kids, against fake medicines.
After all, they are pretty keen to feel some collars and bring on the lawyers whenever some smelly little Snake Oil Salesman tries to sell a dud medicine from a stall in the local market. (Probably because it might compete with a lawfully, and expensively. licensed real medicine.)
But if they won't play by the rules in Blackpool now, then we shall see a very serious escalation in this dispute. There are other paths to justice available to the Blackpool toddlers and parents.
The 'Smoking Gun':
why 'disadvantaged' children have more bad teeth.
Last week the Magazine 'New Scientist' featured articles in a Special Issue, 'Get Smarter' (New Scientist 228, Vol 3051, 12 December 2015:30-39) They described just how badly we are at evaluating evidence, especially numerical and probabalisitic information, and our incompetence at strategic thinking.
This scientific illiteracy amongst policy-makers is a permanent threat to rational judgment and protecting pubic health from charlatans, and you'd think - hope, even - that those who exercise control over such matters would be very careful to avoid the pitfalls that lie in wait for those who attempt to use numbers to justify dubious or controversial health policy.
If that's what you believe, then leave now, because things aren't nearly as rosy as you suppose. I've spent a lot of time delving into the official dental health statistics on which fluoridation policy in England is founded, and what emerges is not a pretty sight at all.
This is not just me, a renegade scientist (an 'Activist' dammit!), banging my drum again. I take a lot of care in researching what I'm looking at before publishing. I've made no secret of my contempt for our new health super-Quango, Public Health England (PHE), and its attempts to pretend to be scientific. Having worked
'on the inside' for ten years, I do have some experience of how things work.
You've seen how PHE pushes fluoridation, as if it were 'The Answer to Life, The Universe, Everything!'. You've noticed its tearful concern for under-privileged kids - and who could possibly argue with that?
What this little article is about is PHE's obsession with fluoridation as the magic bullet to eliminate bad teeth amongst poor kids. You've read the nonsense, maybe even followed up the carefully cherry-picked references that are used to 'prove' the wonders of this treatment for the dentally challenged 'underprivileged' toddlers amongst us. and you've probably just gone away confused.
There seems to be such strong evidence from British surveys that you can't help entertaining just a little bit of doubt - maybe there is something in it after all? If so, that's what you're supposed to believe - doubt is what PHE relies on to get its wicked ways!
So just humour me here, and consider these three recent statements by PHE, in its infamous 'Water Fluoridation: Health Monitoring Report, 2014:
1. Sizeable inequalities still exist between affluent and deprived communities and dental caries is one of the most common causes of hospital admission in children. (p7)
2. The reduction in tooth decay in children of both ages in fluoridated areas appears greatest among those living in the most deprived local authorities (p5)
3. There is also consistency in the relationship found between dental decay and deprivation, the most deprived local authorities having the highest decay levels. This relationship is supported by other studies.13 (p20)
(Source - Executive summary, Water fluoridation. Health monitoring report for England 2014.PHE publications gateway number: 2013547 Published March 2014)
The first contains two separate statements, both of which are true in themselves. Kids from poor neighbourhoods do indeed have more dental decay, and dental treatment is a major reason for childen being admitted to hospital. But they're not cause and effect, just two parallel facts.
The second statement strongly suggests that there is evidence that fluoride reduces tooth decay. This is unsupported by any credible scientific evidence, as the York and Cochrane reviews have shown. It then states that the effects of fluoridation 'appears to be greatest' within deprived communities. Weasel words!
If fluoridation doesn't really work at all, just how is it able to cast its magic wand over the rotting teeth of the kids of the poor? (A bit of a give-away, really, that 'appears' wording. That means PHE really knows that there's just that little bit of doubt about its own claims.)
But put these two little sentences together, as folk do, and the entirely unproven implication is unavoidable. You're expected to believe that if you're a kid living under deprived conditions, and the Council allows the water supply to be fluoridated, then you're less likely to have to be hauled off to hospital, kiching and screaming, to have your teeth pulled. Now who could argue against that?
Well me, for one. The overall effect of these two sentences is to attempt to persuade Councils that the burden of hospital treatment for dental decay in children from such communities can be eased by fluoridation. (Even if it did work as claimed, it would relieve the average English Council of one extra case a month. Not a lot of people know that, but it's all in there, hidden away in their Grand Report!)
Now look at sentence 3 in the Box. Impressive, eh? So what are these 'other studies' that PHE tells us support its belief in fluoride's value to the underprivileged? It dismisses possible argument by providing just a single reference, No. 13, to a publication by Mellor, of the University of Manchester - yes, THAT Manchester again.
It was published in the British Dental Journal, the outlet for the dentists' Union, in 2000 - fourteen years ago. And it's not a scientific paper at all. It hasn't been peer-reviewed and it's never been cited as a reference source. Does that seem strange to you? It should - it's nothing but an Editorial comment, a mere opinion!
Only PHE falls back on such dross, just to dress up its own perforated propaganda!: (13. Mellor, A.C. (2000). Tooth decay and deprivation in young children. British Dental Journal 189: 372).
PHE knows that if it tarts up its reports with impressive-seeming references Councillors won't understand the wretched nonsense. If its all there in complicated language that only the 'Expert' can comprehend, they'll have to ask PHE's busy little minions, cunningly now embedded in our Local Authorities for explantions - and you can guess what they're going to tell them! If this is what the Executive Summary says, then it must be true, right? No - wrong! It's a scam, and they - and you - have fallen for it, just as was intended.
These dodgy claims appear right at the front of the PHE document, in the Executive Summary. That's because PHE knows that the vast majority of Councillors - and indeed, dentists and the Dental Though Police keeping them in line - can't be bothered to read the complicated stuff that comes later.
Why do I believe that this a case of scientific fraud? Because the entire statistical basis of estimating dental decay in English children, the National Surveys of Oral Health, is overwhelmingly worthless. So PHE's attempts to analyse these useless data, are themselves inevitably meaningless.
Or perhaps, not really merely 'inevitable' at all - 'intentionally' might be a more accurate description of what is going on here. The initial data collection is so inadequate that the figures for the prevalence and severity of dental decay in young kids have huge margins of error.
They are no better than poor guesses. But instead of taking these errors into account when they carry on regardless with their sums and calculations, they fall back on those absurdly silly 'mean values, calculated to astonishing but idiotic precision, to compare dental decay in kids from highly variable Local Authority areas.
Remember one crucial point here - the more variable the things you're looking at, the more accurate your data have to be if you want to make some sort of sense out of it. Fudge the first counts and everything that follows is junk.
The result of all PHE's fiendish torturing of its dubious data and its statistical jiggery-pokery is pure scientific pandemonium. These vague guesses on 'selected' groups of kids are manipulated, corrected, weighted and contrived in even more complex and impressively impenetrable analyses.
They produce amazingly detailed but statistically meaningless results that are then described in pure raving gobbledegook. (See Box below)
“An a priori interaction between deprivation quintiles and fluoridation status was tested, followed by an exploratory analysis with deprivation coded as binary, most deprived quintile compared to the combined four least deprived quintiles. A formal test for interaction was then carried out using a likelihood ratio test between models with and without inclusion of an interaction term between fluoridation status and the binary deprivation variable – the null hypothesis being no evidence of interaction.” (p1)
I trust you followed that? But if the number of children whose teeth were examined for decay in many Local Authority areas were too small to draw reliable conclusions, its even less believable that quintiles - one fifth - of the generally relatively small proportions of 'deprived children' living in those same areas can possible tell us anything at all about even their basic dental health, let alone the effect of a so-called 'treatment' - fluoridation - that is in fact completely ineffective anyway!
All that impenetrable language describing the statistics in the Box? Pure hogwash, designed to confuse Councillors. If that's 'plain English' then it's not the stuff that I learned at school.
But even worse, this pseudo-analysis garbage is then republished in scientific Journals. This lends a spurious air of authority to the propaganda. Don't be fooled - PHE employs professional statisticians, it knows exactly what it's doing. Publishing such junk 'science' can't be excused by arguing that the results are what their favourite computerised statistical package came up with - remember the old programmer's warning, 'Garbage in - garbage out!'.
PHE is perfectly well aware that virtually all scientists on both sides of the fluoridation fence don't bother to take such intimidating stuff apart to see if the increasingly wild numbers produced by these button-pushers really do stand up to scrutiny. I have, and it's frightening to see just how corrupt this wretched organisation really is.
It's pretty simple really. If the basic data on which public health policy relies is inadequate, then it's professional misconduct to try to pretend that it is actually sound, and then to carry out weird and wonderful pseudo-analysis to try to prove your policy is 'evidence-based'.
To put it bluntly, its scientific fraud, and anyone who uses this tactic to try to force
a discredited and actually harmful belief on the public is too damned dangerous to be allowed to remain in office.
The 'smoking gun' behind deprived kids' rotting teeth.
If you're still persuaded that PHE must know what its busy little propagandists are talking about, here's a couple of interesting items that you may have missed. Let's take a closer look at this 'deprivation' issue.
First, smoking is much more common amongst people living in these so-called 'deprived' communities. It's partly down to personality and psychological attitude - “Everyone else does, so I may as well!” - and partly down to a rather weird ''neighbourhood effect' associated with poorer housing and other physical influences of these run-down districts.
But then, on top of that, if there is a smoker in the house and babies are exposed to passive smoke from between birth and three months of age, they're likely to have twice as much dental decay later as kids brought up in a smoke-free home.
That's right - just breathing the fumes as a baby doubles your risk of bad teeth - and the poor smoke more than the rich.
Put these two snippets together and this is quite enough to provide a credible alternative explanation - a confounding factor - for the very real increase in dental decay in kids from deprived communities.
But that decay isn't down to their being 'deprived' - it's a far more complex sociological problem, that has nothing to do with whether or not there's any fluoride in their drinking water. Only an idiot or an obsessive would claim that dribbling this toxic substance into the public water supply could possibly stop poor parents smoking at home!
For those of you who like to see where I get this stuff from, here are a couple of references you can follow up. There's plenty more available to get a fuller picture of what's going on in deprived communities, and why.
Pickett KM, Pearl M.(2001) Multilevel analyses of neighbourhood socioeconomic context and health outcomes: a critical review. J Epidemiol Community Health 2001;55:111–122
Tanaka S. et al(2015) Secondhand smoke and incidence of dental caries in deciduous teeth among children in Japan: population based retrospective cohort study BMJ 2015; 351:h5397 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h5397