By Michael Dorausch, D.C.
I’m getting away from my typical chiropractic articles today because I wanted to address some interesting public health news that came online this week. The news involves fluoride, and if you are not already aware, fluoride and especially the process of adding it to drinking water (water fluoridation) is a highly controversial topic.
Here is the news. An independent panel of experts commissioned by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reviewed the effect of fluoride in drinking water on public health and released a report this past week saying that the fluoride level in tap water allowed by the EPA should be lowered to protect from several health related conditions.
Rather than go into the report I wanted to demonstrate how different news sources report on controversial topics such as this one. I’ll provide plenty of links below so that you can have access to various opinions and news reports on the topic. To the average person reading the news, an article about fluoride, would not create any alarm or hint of any controversy. Thanks to the internet, hundreds and sometimes thousands of authors are reporting on news topics. Some news sources just reproduce articles with little edit, comment, or variation on wherever the original content is coming from. If we weed those sources out and recognize them as duplicating content, we can then begin to look closer at the issue and see more of a left, middle, and right point of view approach.
Saturday night I noticed headlines on the google news homepage beginning to appear on the topic of fluoride. The headline at the top of the list read… “National Academy urges lowering fluoride in tap water.” According to google news, the article was published on March 23, 2006. That would be Thursday, a day after the report was made public. While writing this article I went to google news to get the facts straight on dates and headlines. The fluoride topic no longer was in the top 3 so I had to click into the health section. At 3:38PM on 3/26/2006, the top headline read… “Too much of a good thing on tap?”
As is standard for google news, along with this headline there were “12 related” articles available to view. However, the article published on Thursday, was no longer on the list and could only be found by doing a news search on the term “fluoride.” So what is the big deal? Hang in there. Let’s look at the terminology used in just two of these articles. The first comes from the website foodconsumer.org (the headlines I read late Saturday night).
Headline: National Academy urges lowering fluoride in tap water
Terms and phrases used…
fluoride, should, lowered, protect, severe enamel fluorosis, clinical state II skeletal fluorosis, bone fractures, damage to the brain, bone cancer, overexposed, children at risk, health problems, toxicology, ingestion, health problems, known by many.
Now, let’s look at the headlines I read today.
Headline: Too much of a good thing on tap?
Terms and phrases used…
good, naturally, natural, helps, continual, protective, helpful, small, little, no effect, benefit.
Notice any difference between the two?
Did I mention the above article comes from the Los Angeles Times? The Los Angeles Times article was published to google news this morning, nearly three days after the first article appeared. Take the time to view the links below and read both articles. The Times article presents itself as “a closer look” on fluoride.
The Los Angeles Times article sited two sources. A UCLA instructor and local Los Angeles Dentist, and the other an assistant professor from Boston University who was on the membership committee for the research project. The article reads to me like a positive piece for water fluoridation, creating images of fresh water running across rocks, through streams, naturally bringing this “good thing” substance into our water supply. The Times article did mention that sometimes fluoride is added to public water supplies in order to bring it up to recommended standards. Heh, who can get too much of a good thing?
Back to the first article which was not so happy happy, joy joy. Reading the article, it appeared to me that fluoride was some sort of toxic poison and that we were getting way too much of the stuff. Brain damage and bone cancer are not things most folks want more of. The article mentions Los Angeles as one of the places where too much fluoride is putting infants and young children at risk.
According to the article, the American Dental Association has known for decades that ingestion of high levels of fluoride can cause a number of health problems.
According to the article, high doses of fluoride can result in brain damage, particularly in children.
According to the article, in metropolitan areas (such as Los Angeles) where high fluoride is present in tap water, infants are getting too much fluoride regardless if they are bottle-fed or breast-fed.
The article sites EWG several times. EWG is the Environmental Working Group and I will provide a link to their website below. I had not heard of them before but I loved the tag at the top of the page that read… THEPOWEROFINFORMATION
What is the deal? Is it good or bad? Safe or toxic? Should we get more or less? Is there a conspiracy at play or is it just coincidence these articles are so different? I’m not getting involved any further beyond the posting of this article. Visit the links and make your own decisions.
One last thing. The title of the original research project was: Toxicologic Risk of Fluoride in Drinking Water
Here are your source links…
Foodconsumer.org: National Academy urges lowering fluoride in tap water
Fluoride Action Network: EPA Standard for Fluoride in Water: Unsafe and “Should be Lowered”
Environmental Working Group: National Academy Findings Move Fluoride Health Concerns into Scientific Mainstream
The National Academies: Project Title: Toxicologic Risk of Fluoride in Drinking Water
Los Angeles Times: Too much of a good thing on tap?
Google News Fluoride Search: Fluoride+Search+News
planetc1.com-news @ 5:52 pm | Article ID: 1143424324