Sunday, January 07, 2007

Drink More Water (Ask More Questions)

I am known amongst friends and enemies for my proclivity towards arrogance and distrust of normal people - whatever it is I even mean by that (hopefully, I think, just not me).

But how can even I expect anybody to consider themselves informed when our prime minister makes such sweeping and ill-informed generalisations that it's actually become difficult to tell whether he's just trying to pull the wool over (again), or he truly believes what he's saying.

You may not have heard, but he's telling us to drink more tap water. All of us. I've always been under the impression that this is a fairly healthy idea. For the fluoride, right? If they put it in our water it's just gotta be good for us? Right?

Actually, it's not so simple. And okay, whilst we certainly can't expect the PM to be giving much more than media-agreeable sound bytes in an interview, at the same time it's ethically unsound for him to offer up such broad advice as "I think one of the things we have to try and do though, is get young kids to drink tap water again to do something about their teeth," without any kind of disclaimer.

A letter by David McRae from Water Quality Australia, alerted me to the problem, and a little googling pulls up some interesting (and apparently verified) facts. Did you know that:

* Test results show a serious decrease in reproductivity in many animal species affected by fluoride;

* A union of approximately 1500 scientists, lawyers and other professionals oppose fluoride use on ethical grounds;

* A Chinese study's "results suggest that drinking water fluoride levels over 2.0mg/L can cause damage to liver and kidney functions in children and that the dental fluorosis was independent of damage to the liver but not the kidney".

No? Well, until five minutes ago, neither did I. The thing is, I have no side in this debate - I just wish my country's leaders would be making us aware that there's a debate in the first place. Less dogma, more discussion please.

All that I really know is that I know nothing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

he's probably only saying it in hope of easing the public dental crisis without committing any money.

another problem with flouride - excess causes mottling of teeth, which is usually hideous.