How Dentists Manipulate Legislators to Win Fluoridation Battles
- Sally Stride
Ignoring the democratic process and discouraging a healthy dialogue, California fluoridationists worked secretly, quickly and dishonestly to pass a 1995 California fluoridation law, according to “The Fluoride Victory,” published in the Journal of the California Dental Association.
California Assemblywoman Jackie Speier, working with the California Dental Association (CDA), sponsored the bill that forced all California water companies, with 10,000 service connections, to add nonessential fluoride chemicals into water supplies to prevent tooth decay, without constituent approval or local governing body discussion or vote.
“To make the most of the element of surprise, it was decided that Speier would wait until the last possible moment to introduce her fluoridation bill,” writes author Joanne Boyd.
“’We pretty much knew we’d catch (the anti-fluoridation faction) by surprise because it wasn’t well known outside of the dental community what was going on,’ said Liz Snow, assistant director of CDA’s Government Relations (lobbying) Office. ‘But we didn’t want to give the other side any more time to mobilize than absolutely necessary,’” writes Boyd.
William Keese, CDA Director of Government Relations, a lobbyist, received many compliments from other lobbyists on the campaign.
“I wouldn’t say we pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but it was a coup. We worked hard at getting prepared and using the element of surprise to our advantage. We moved fast and did it in one year,” Boyd quotes Keese as saying.
Many of the nation’s most familiar pro-fluoride experts, were involved in the California battle including zealous fluoridationist, dentist Michael Easley brought in from Kentucky, at the time. (By the way, tooth decay doubled in Kentucky after water fluoridation).
To the antifluoridation folks, Easley brags, I’m Public Enemy Number 1. Easley travels world-wide touting one issue, fluoridation.
Intending to insult anti-fluoridationists, Boyd quotes lobbyist Snow as saying, “’When you’re a single-issue person – when that issue pops up, regardless of where it is – that’s where you go,’ Snow said. They remind me of Deadheads. Anywhere the Grateful Dead would go, there would be the same group of followers.” Snow’s criticism more aptly fits Easley or the national experts provided by the country-wide dentists’ union, the American Dental Association (ADA).
Untrained to diagnose fluoride’s adverse bodily effects, California fluoridation activist and dentist “Howard Pollick, likened the anti-fluoride activists to the Flat Earth Society. ‘Ever since science proved that the earth is round, there’s been a Flat Earth Society whose members refuse to acknowledge a scientific truth,”’ Writes Boyd in “The Fluoride Victory.” Howard Pollick, DDS, is a clinical professor with the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, and co-chairman of the California Fluoridation Task Force.
Pollick should join the Flat Earth Society – in fact – he should be their President because he doesn’t even believe his own research.
According to Pollick and colleagues, “It may…be that fluoridation of drinking water does not have a strong protective effect against early childhood caries (ECC),” was reported in the Winter 2003 Journal of Public Health Dentistry.
Pollick’s team studied 2,520 California preschool children as part of the “California Oral Health Needs Assessment of Children Study” which helped convince California legislators to mandate fluoridation statewide in 1995.
A majority of Asian-American children that Pollick and his research team studied, lived in areas with fluoridated water; yet they suffered with the highest prevalence and the greatest amount of cavities.
“…the primary sampling units were selected on the basis of fluoridation status: three were fluoridated urban regions, two were rural (nonfluoridated), and five were non-fluoridated urban regions,” they report. “Our analysis did not appear to be affected by whether or not children lived in an area with fluoridated water,” reports Pollick et al.
Organized dentistry gets an A+ in political savvy; but an F in fluoride science. Legislators are routinely hoodwinked by organized dentistry.
Fluoride opposition is based on sound science – not back-door political activism. Unfortunately, we don’t have the money, influence and network they do. We only have the truth.
People who get paid to promote fluoridation:
~ Dental directors in almost every state with offices, budgets, staffs and traveling expenses, most of whom aren’t passionate about fluoridation – just doing their job.
~ An army of uniformed U.S. Centers for Disease Control dentists, based in Atlanta, Georgia, who took up the front row, at taxpayer expense, in a Suffolk County, New York, legislative fluoridation meeting. The Suffolk County legislature still voted down fluoridation.
~ National Institutes of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) dentists. The NIDCR displays a magnified image of a fluoride crystal on their website’s logo as a reminder that this institute was born on the back of fluoridation. Millions of dollars are meted out to dental researchers to study fluoride’s tooth effects – but not fluoride’s bodily effects.
~ Public-health-dentists and dental professors in universities and dental schools who sometimes require entire classes of dental students to take up space and time before governing bodies in local fluoridation battles.
~ The U.S. Surgeon General who reports a dental health epidemic in the U.S. despite almost five decades of water fluoridation reaching about 2/3 of Americans and virtually 100% through the food and beverage supply.
At their disposal is a web of dentists across the U.S. too willing to follow Organized dentistry’s instructions to lobby their legislator-patients and instigate fluoridation whenever they can, making it appear to be a local initiative. They are offered strategy materials, videos, power point presentations and a half day continuing education program entitled “Get the Drop on Community Water Fluoridation!”
Don’t expect the research community to speak on your behalf. Some who did lost their jobs, grant money and reputations such as Phyllis Mullenix, PhD, once a rising star in the research community until she discovered fluoride could pass into the brain causing mental deficits.
Susan Allen, Florida’s Fluoridation Coordinator wrote in a 1990 memo to St. Petersburg’s Director of Inner City Governmental Relations, “There are several tactical strategies that seem to promote (fluoridation) success; the 1st being – Keep a low profile: the least amount of publicity the better.
2nd. Approach community officials individually. Better yet, convince someone they know and respect to convince them …’
3rd. Avoid a referendum. The statistics are that 3 out of 4 fluoridation referenda fail.”
Sally Stride, Suite 101 Fluoridation Editor