The Case Against Fluoride – Paul Connett

LISTEN 35 Minutes

KGNU Boulder Denver asked me to interview anti-fluoridation advocate, Paul Connett, when he was invited to Lafayette, Colorado to testify in favor of removing fluoride from the city’s water.  Connett is the author of The Case Against Fluoride.   I invited Boulder County public health officials to be on air at the same time as Paul Connett, and they declined, basically saying they had been warned that Connett is an experienced debater, and as public health officials, they would sound silly by comparison.  So I talked ahead of time with a public health dental expert to hear why he believes fluoridation is important, and then served as the Devil’s advocate, for interviewing Connett.


Just caught the last 15 mins on fluoride this morning…great show! – M

FOLLOW-UP WITH THE COLORADO HEALTH DEPARTMENT – Here is a written reply to followup questions regarding Paul Connett’s interview and key points:

SHELLEY – Are there valid studies in other countries indicating that excess fluoride can affect brain function, and have those studies been checked out in the U-S?

COLORADO HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Mr. Connett’s references are studies that were mainly conducted in China, India and Mexico.  Most of the studies Mr. Connett refers to were compiled in the Harvard paper entitled Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis by Choi et al. While there was data demonstrating a 1 point IQ difference in fluoridated vs non-fluoridated areas, there are several very important factors that must also be considered:  the natural fluoride content in the areas the studies were conducted was far higher than is allowed in any community water system in the United States (about 10 times higher) and even less than is maintained by communities who add fluoride for the prevention of tooth decay, researchers did not find the same differences in adult IQ in these areas, there are concerns surrounding the data collection in the studies, the studies did not account for other factors that can greatly influence IQ such as heavy metal pollution, dietary deficiencies, and poverty,  and the studies were available only in Chinese making it difficult for the average researcher to evaluate the studies for reliability and validity.  Other sources cited by Connett are mainly referenced in the magazine Fluoride which is not peer-reviewed, cited by Pub-Med, or referenced in medical or dental libraries.  Please note as well that the Harvard Deans released a letter of support for community water fluoridation after this paper was released further demonstrating the questionable scientific validity of the study and the applicability of any findings to the United States.

Community water fluoridation has been practiced in the United States for over 65 years and studies have and continue to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this public health practice.

SHELLEY - Is it true or not that World Health Organization (WHO) studies indicate that areas/countries that use fluoridated water and those that don’t BOTH have a reduction in cavities, with no significantly better rate of cavity reduction in areas that do use it?

COLORADO HEALTH DEPARTMENT – It should first be clarified that fluoride is a natural mineral that is present in all water sources.  Some areas have too much and some have levels too low to reduce dental cavities.  To imply that there are areas that do not have any fluoride is inaccurate.  The very simple statement Mr. Connett selectively quoted from information provided by WHO illustrates misconceptions in oral health and access to care around the world.  Please note that WHO supports community water fluoridation as a public health measure to reduce dental disease.

Community water fluoridation creates something called the halo effect which means that products made in areas with optimal fluoride levels that are consumed in areas with inadequate fluoride levels provide a benefit to the population who does not also have the benefit of optimally fluoridated water.  That, in addition to fluoridated toothpaste and dental care, leads to a reduction in cavities.

There are many countries noted in the information provided by Mr. Connett that provide fluoride via salt or milk.  Even more than that have universal health care which includes dental care.  Access to regular preventive care is another important factor in reducing dental cavities.

It is inaccurate to state there is “no significantly better rate of cavity reduction” in areas with inadequate fluoride levels in such a broad statement.  Individual countries and the other factors (such as universal dental care) should be considered when comparisons are made.  If this were true, WHO likely would not recognize the effectiveness of this public health practice.

SHELLEY - What about Connett’s contention that in an age when fluoridated toothpaste is widely available, fluoridated water might be obsolete?

COLORADO HEALTH DEPARTMENT – Studies show that community water fluoridation prevents at least 25 percent of tooth decay in children and adults, even in an era with widespread availability of fluoride from other sources, such as fluoride toothpaste.

Optimal reduction in dental cavities can be reached when fluoridated water is consumed, fluoridated toothpaste is appropriately used, routine preventive dental care is provided, and dietary habits are optimal.

In addition to providing a significant reduction in cavities on top of using fluoridated toothpaste, community water fluoridation does not require any behavior change or effort on behalf of the individual.  The benefits are realized simply by drinking the water.  To rely solely on fluoridated toothpaste assumes that the individual will brush their teeth and use the appropriate amount of fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day.  It also provides exposure of the tooth surface to fluoride only when the teeth are brushed rather than throughout the day as drinking water does.  Fluoride has been found most effective when the tooth surface receives frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride which is what happens when drinking optimally fluoridated water.

SHELLEY - How about low income mothers using infant formula?  Are they encouraged to use distilled water?

COLORADO HEALTH DEPARTMENT – No.  The ADA continues to recommend that “parents and caregivers of infants who consume powdered or liquid concentrate infant formula as the main source of nutrition, they can suggest the continued use of powdered or liquid concentrate infant formulas reconstituted with optimally fluoridated drinking water while being cognizant of the potential risks of enamel fluorosis development.”

As Ms Schlender also discussed during her interview with Mr. Connett, enamel fluorosis is a cosmetic concern that may cause some slight white spots on the enamel but also presents with harder enamel that has been found to be less prone to cavities. These white spots are often not visible to the untrained eye.  Severe enamel fluorosis is damaged enamel and is extremely rare in the United States and has not been found to be caused by optimal levels of water fluoridation.

If parents who are using infant formula are concerned about enamel fluorosis, they can certainly use distilled or filtered water or they can alternate between optimally fluoridated and filtered water to still provide some benefit to the developing teeth.

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The Canine Good Citizenship Test

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Our 14 month old Golden Retriever, Daisy, joins her BFFs, Ellie the Golden Doodle, Ruby and Trixie, with Doggone Training director, Lauren Whittemore, to see whether these young dogs are ready to pass the hallowed Canine Good Citizenship Test.  Who passes?  Does Daisy pass?  Or does she have YET to pass?

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The Colonoscopy (from 2001)

LISTEN (30 Minutes) These are stories from 2001, about people who have had colonoscopies.  It includes “news” about colonoscopies from 2001 – including a new idea for how to do them more easily.  Interestingly, virtual colonoscopies have become an even more popular way to get them done – that’s a technology hardly anyone knew about in 2001.

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For One Man, Origami Unfolds a Better Life

For One Man, Origami Unfolds a Better Life

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Collin in the Snow

From J2 blog spot

LISTEN (22 MINUTES) “Heart failure,” happens when the heart can’t pump properly.  Usually, it’s a disease of old age.  But Collin Johnston was in his 20s when he was diagnosed with heart failure.  To save his life, Collin got a try at a heart transplant, but snow got in the way.  Over time, snow became part of teaching him about how to take each day as it comes. From KGNU Producer Shelley Schlender. Continue reading

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Andrew Weil – True Food Cookbook and Restaurant

Dr. Andrew Weil - author of True Food

LISTEN to True Food and Dr Andrew Weil_2012-12-19

Some call the Harvard educated Dr. Andrew Weil the father of  holistic health and New Age Medicine.  He’s credited with establishing the field integrative medicine which strives to combine alternative and conventional medicine.  And now, he’s launched a new venture, through his now cook book, True Food, and his brand new True Food Restaurant.  But while the recipes are wonderful, and the restaurant is beautiful, what about the noise level?  And will we have the courage to point that problem out to him during the interview?  And what will he say?  Listen in to find out.

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Boulder Emergency Pet Clinic


LISTEN – 27 Minutes

Listener Comments:

Dear Shelley,
Thank you for the beautiful documentary about Brian and the Emergency Vet that was there for him. The story was serendipitous for us. This year we lost our 14 year old dog Marble.  We loved her deeply.  The vet that helped her find her way to the next world was as kind and caring as the vet in your documentary.  It made her passing somewhat easier knowing that the vet really cared too.  We now have a new puppy.  Her name is Belle and she is as beautiful and loving as our Marble was.  I am so glad that we decided to let another dog friend into our lives. Thank you for sharing the very difficult story. Warm regards, -M

Hi Shelley, We have not met but I have volunteered at KGNU, and I am a huge fan of the station. I feel like I know everyone there because I listen so much and I’m familiar with all of your voices! I heard your segment this morning about your dog and the vet clinic and was very moved. My husband and I just lost our dog last month and had a very similar experience at the vet. I have also wondered what it must be like to work in this field. Listening to your piece today was very touching and I appreciate it very much. Thank you for your excellent work. - Amy

Dr. Kyle Marano, Veterinarian

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Trimming Trees for Winter Snow

Trees and Snow - from wiki

LISTEN (4 minutes) Snow on trees that still have leaves can break a lot of branches. To prevent this damage, let’s follow a Boulder tree expert into a backyard full of snow and trees.  Josh Morin is with Taddiken Tree Company. He shares how homeowners can protect trees, plus what NOT to do.  And here’s a more detailed version, with more information LISTEN (15 minutes)

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Video & Radio Stories Worldwide

Some stories are pure fun, such as this story about the Minnesota State Fair giant singalong.

For other recent videos, check here.

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East of Denver – by Gregory Hill

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East of Denver is a debut novel by Denver author Gregory Hill

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