Will consumers be able to boycott purveyors of fluoridated water?

21 Oct

In April next year, all businesses and charities in England will be able to choose their water provider. Though the quality of the water would not improve, changing suppliers would be a gesture of support for companies that do not practice enforced medication with a neurotoxin.

It is said that this choice is likely to be extended to the residential sector after water regulator OFWAT has backed plans to bring competition to the residential retail water market and made these recommendations to the government. According to a report, the move, which would end the final retail monopoly, could be worth almost £3bn to the consumer with smaller bills and improved customer service.

welsh-waterThe writer would choose the only British-owned utility, Welsh Water – Dwr Cymru – a semi-mutual water company run on a not-for-profit basis, owned by the co-operative Glas Cymru, a single purpose company with no shareholders run solely for the benefit of customers.

Fleur Jones of Dwr Cymru’s Legal Departmentconfirms that Welsh Water does not fluoridate its water supplies.

She explains: “The Water Act 2003 amends the Water Industry Act 1991 which now states that water companies must follow the instruction of the Health Authority or in Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government. It does not now give the green light to water companies to fluoridate but means that, as stated above, the decision making process sits with those directly accountable to their local population. In practice in Wales this is likely to mean that decisions will rest with the National Assembly for Wales. Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water do not fluoridate any of our water supplies and we have not received any indication that the National Assembly for Wales intend to ask us to fluoridate any water supplies”.

Hats off to Welsh Water – who are avoiding the range of suspected health risks from fluoride – see research published in the BMJ which found higher levels of hyperthyroidism in the fluoridated West Midlands.





People from these countries visited the site this week

19 Oct


Some U.S. municipalities are reassessing the subject of fluoride added to their water sources

12 Oct



The Journalist’s Resource project, based at Harvard’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy, examines news topics through a research lens. It ‘surfaces’ scholarly materials that may be relevant to media practitioners, bloggers, educators, students and general readers. The following news items were published in a review on their website earlier this year.

Concern about fluoride, a neurotoxin

A 2014 review paper in The Lancet Neurology identified a number of potential development neurotoxins in children. One of these — fluoride — has continued to fuel a discussion since the article’s publication, as the water supplies of approximately 74 percent of the U.S. population have fluoridation. While the debate hasn’t yet risen to the same level as those over vaccines or global warming, some U.S. municipalities are reassessing the amount of fluoride in their water sources — or whether to fluoridate at all.

Anti-fluoride critics have extended their influence

The article comments that, despite evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of fluoridation, anti-fluoride critics have extended their influence and challenged public health experts. Despite the evidence supporting the safety and efficacy of fluoridation, anti-fluoride critics have extended their influence and challenged public health experts.

Some communities are rejecting fluoridation


  • Voters (above) in Portland, Oregon did so in 2013, the fourth time in almost 60 years — overruling the city’s commissioners, who had agreed to fluoridate the city’s water supply.
  • USA Today reported that in July, the commissioners of Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, voted to stop adding fluoride. The vote was 6-1, with Commissioner Carlos Wilson casting the only vote in favour of fluoride, this despite objections from local dentists, who had argued that fluoride is a proven method for fighting tooth decay. Water system general manager David Collett said he will stop adding fluoride to the water supply immediately.
  • On the morning of August 4th, the city council of Port Angeles, Washington, stopped fluoridation of the municipal water supply following four ethics complaints against council members and repeated, intense City Council public comment sessions. A vote to decide whether to resume the practice will be held in November 2017.

A near thing – next time perhaps

In January 2016, city officials in Durango, Colorado debated whether to stop adding fluoride to city drinking water. The local effort to eliminate fluoride from drinking water has been led by Jim Forleo, a chiropractor who said too much fluoride can have negative effects such as joint pain. “They are giving us a drug without our consent,” he said. Fluoride opponents, reason that while a certain amount of fluoride may be safe, the weight and medical condition of the person would help to determine the appropriate dose. In April, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommended lowering the dosage of fluoride because so many people are exposed to it in toothpaste and mouthwash.

john-rothchildDr John Rothchild, a dentist, came to hear the council’s discussion in June. He filters out the fluoride from his home water and his clinic because of the potential side effects of fluoride, especially on the thyroid.

When it comes to tooth decay, sugar is far more important, he said: “We have to control the sugar”.

The question deadlocked the city’s Utilities Commission, so that advisory board did not have a united position to present, but the commission’s chairman, John Ballew, and San Juan Basin Health. Department Executive Director Liane Jollon both spoke in favour of fluoride and the Durango City Council decided that fluoride will stay in the Durango’s drinking water.

Early in 2016, residents of Healdsburg, California opposing fluoridation mounted a campaign

It is hoped that Healdsburg residents can be convinced to vote to stop adding the substance to the city’s water supply. They have been gathering voters’ signatures to place the issue on the November ballot, hoping the outcome will be different from last time in 2014, when 64% said “yes” to keeping fluoride in the water and 34% said “no.” They are seeking a moratorium on the additive until the city and fluoride suppliers provide detailed chemical reports and a written statement verifying its safety for ingestion.

In Collier County, Florida a debate over fluoridation has started

Camden Smith, the commissioner’s assistant, is to petition commissioners to stop fluoridation of the county’s drinking water. She said she will raise issues about the health and safety of using cavity-preventing fluoride in drinking water and ask commissioners to “stop putting a medical treatment into a public utility.”

A reader adds news from Patton Borough, Pennsylvania – another town which has continued the growing trend of ending fluoridation due to the corrosion and metal leaching caused by the chemical additive.  According to Borough water engineer David Cunningham, of Keller Engineers, “because Patton has older water lines, the added fluorosilicic acid seemed to be loosening sediment and causing corrosion. ‘The fear is that you’re going to raise lead and copper levels,’ he said.  The notice added that the fluoride also seemed to be increasing the water’s iron content.”

And from Kennebunk, Maine – Voters in Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Wells, Ogunquit, Arundel, and portions of Biddeford and York, Maine will have the opportunity to end fluoridation on election day in November.  The water district has come out in opposition to adding fluoride additives, and a campaign has been organized to win the ballot vote.

As Florida’s Camden Smith says, “I’m not saying fluoride isn’t beneficial to children but 89% of our population is over the age of 10 and has no medical need for fluoride. When even the cheapest toothpaste on the planet has fluoride in it, we are not servicing the public good. While I agree it is a moderate amount of fluoride in our drinking water, the problem is we’re bathing in it, drinking it and swimming in it. I respect anyone’s choice to put medical treatment in their water and I ask to be given the same choice. Nobody should be forced to ingest fluoride”.





Spotlight on Bayer-Monsanto neonicotinoid field trials

23 Sep

Farming Today (23.9.16) seems to be unaware of the content of the neonicotinoids research studies obtained by Greenpeace after a freedom of information request to the US Environmental Protection Agency. Bayer intends to make these public at the International Congress of Entomology next week.

This is not good news for Bayer, debt-laden since its takeover of Monsanto and reported to have seen its shares ‘drifting downwards’.


Reports in the Guardian and EurActiv inform readers that the research studies, conducted by Syngenta and Bayer on their neonicotinoid insecticides, showed that Syngenta’s thiamethoxam and Bayer’s clothianidin seriously harmed colonies at high doses, but found no significant effects below concentrations of 50 parts per billion (ppb) and 40ppb respectively.

Bees and other insects vital for pollinating three-quarters of the world’s food crops, have been in significant decline, due – it is thought -to the loss of flower-rich habitats, disease and the use of pesticides.

Consider the cumulative effect of neonic residues ingested from planting dust, water and treated seeds

However researchers note that pollinators in real environments are continually exposed to cocktails of many pesticides, rather than single chemicals for relatively short periods. As Matt Shardlow, chief executive of conservation charity Buglife, said:

“These studies may not show an impact on honeybee health [at low levels], but then the studies are not realistic. The bees were not exposed to the neonics that we know are in planting dust, water drunk by bees and wildflowers, wherever neonics are used as seed treatments. This secret evidence highlights the profound weakness of regulatory tests.”

prof-goulsonProfessor Dave Goulson explained, on Farming Today, that there were 20,000 species of bees and that neonics are neurotoxins that harm bumble bees, wild solitary bees and all insects. He added that there are a huge number of studies indicating the damage done and only a few that find them safe.

He reminds us on his blog that a recent Swedish study, published in the most prestigious scientific journal in the world (Nature), showed huge impacts of neonics on bumblebees and solitary bees when the chemicals were used by farmers ‘as directed on the label’ and adds a warning:

“Remember that, 50 years ago, the agrochemical industry assured us the DDT was safe, until it turned out that it wasn’t. Later, they told us that organophosphates were fine, except they weren’t. Do you believe them this time? I don’t”.




Rising antibiotic resistance in E.coli on UK supermarket meat

9 Sep

tracy-and-pigLast December this site reported that Tracy Worcester is drawing attention to the subject of antibiotic resistance, which is growing – developing not in humans, but in bacteria that can then infect humans. Surgical and cancer chemotherapy patients rely on antibiotics to protect them from potentially life-threatening illnesses and declining efficacy could turn routine procedures into life-threatening ones.

The Organic Research Centre now reports that a new study carried out by scientists at Cambridge University, looked at 189 UK-origin pig and poultry meat samples from the seven largest supermarkets in the UK (ASDA, Aldi, Coop, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose). It tested for the presence of E. coli which are resistant to the key antibiotics for treating E. coli urinary-tract and blood-poisoning infections in people. The highly resistant ESBL E. coli was found on meat from all of the supermarkets.


The research found rising levels of resistance in chicken meat, with 24% of samples testing positive for ESBL E. coli, a type of E. coli resistant to the ‘critically important’ modern cephalosporin antibiotics. This is four times higher than was found during a similar study in 2015, in which just 6% of chicken tested positive for ESBL E. coli. Modern cephalosporins are widely used for treating life-threatening E.coli blood poisoning in humans.

51% of the E. coli from pork and poultry samples were resistant to the antibiotic trimethoprim, which is used to treat over half of lower urinary-tract infections. In addition, 19% of the E. coli were resistant to gentamicin, a very important human antibiotic used to treat more serious upper urinary-tract infections.

The findings provide further evidence that the overuse of antibiotics used to mass medicate livestock on British farms is likely to be undermining the treatment of E. coli urinary-tract and blood-poisoning infections in humans. Some of the antibiotics tested are used in far greater quantities in livestock farming than in human medicine.

Dr Mark Holmes, from Cambridge University, who led the study said: “I’m concerned that insufficient resources are being put into the surveillance of antibiotic resistance in farm animals and retail meat. We don’t know if these levels are rising or falling in the absence of an effective monitoring system. These results highlight the need for improvements in antibiotic stewardship in veterinary medicine. While some progress has been made we must not be complacent as it may take many years before we see significant reductions in the numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in farms.”

E-coli is by far the most common cause of urinary-tract infections and of dangerous blood poisoning, and can also cause meningitis. These infections must be treated with antibiotics. Dr Ron Daniels BEM, CEO of the UK Sepsis Trust said: “This study highlights a worrying trend towards rising resistance in E.coli on UK retail meat. E.coli in people is the greatest cause of deaths from sepsis, and poor antimicrobial stewardship in intensive farming is undoubtedly contributing to this trend. It’s of paramount importance that we act decisively to reduce this immediate threat to human life.”

Two recommendations:

 Other proposals:

Tracy points out that we have the choice to buy meat with the high welfare labels RSPCA Assured, Outdoor Bred, Free Range or Organic – eat less meat as Anna advocates – or go meat-free. See the World Health Organisation on the health issues here.

Buy organic/local?

Organic farming is perceived as providing a better quality of life for farmed animals and an earlier article reports that a new financial report on organic farming in England and Wales for 2014/15, undertaken by the Organic Research Centre for the Welsh Government, shows organic farm profits increasing, with organic dairy farming outperforming conventional dairy farming in England and Wales. In particular, the organic dairy industry is now generating higher profits than conventional farms despite producing lower yields.

Animal welfare has been a key motivator to consumers who are increasingly choosing organic products with quality assurance standards, because they want to know the origins of their food, and are willing to pay more for products which are ‘friendly’ to wildlife and the environment.


Professor Nic Lampkin from the Organic Research Centre in Newbury, was one of the co-authors of the report and the Cambridge study was commissioned by the Alliance to Save our Antibiotics, of which the Organic Research Centre is a member.




State induced illness? Gulf War medication, sheep dip, contaminated blood and fluoridated water

20 Aug

sheep dip peter tyrer

In all these cases the sufferers have one thing in common. The treatments have been supported or imposed by government which would have to pay compensation if they – or the courts – admitted the adverse effects of their policies.

A reader writes; “It’s amazing how powerful the legal action has been against J&J and how this brings the issue into the full glare of publicity and financially penalises the guilty party”. She says not so with fluoridation and asks:

  • Where are the plaintiffs?
  • Where is the publicity?
  • Where are the lawyers eager to go to court?
  • Where are the adverts from solicitors eager to attract talc-damaged clients?
  • Who would be the respondent?

Few will blow the whistle on government and take up these causes, though there are honourable exceptions:

Lord Alf Morris worked long and hard to obtain justice for some of these sufferers see a post on a sister site: https://politicalcleanup.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/alf-morris-who-died-on-sunday-an-mp-of-the-right-calibre/

MP (now Lord) Paul Tyler chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Organophosphates (OPs) for thirteen years and campaigned about their adverse effects on farmers (through sheep dip), pilots and cabin crew (through contaminated cabin air) and gulf war veterans (through pesticides used to repel insects). He also led a campaign to uncover the truth behind the Camelford Lowermoor Water Poisoning incident, and the ensuing cover-up, which occurred shortly before the Conservative Party privatised the water industry.

adams common good

                                                   above, President John Adams 

Until a government for the common good stands upright, without loyalty to corporations who pour funds into party coffers, there will be no justice for these victims.




How much death and disability is due to industry-friendly light touch regulation?

17 Aug

Today a reader referred to the court orders against Pharmaceutical firm Johnson & Johnson (J&J) which has been ordered to pay more than $55m (£40m) in compensation to an American woman who said its talcum powder caused her ovarian cancer. In February, Johnson & Johnson paid $72m (£51m) in a similar case.

The International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics report brings to mind Jeremy Rifkin’s thoughts on ’primitive modern science’

The increasing use of hazardous chemicals in industry and agriculture with cumulative and long-term health impacts is a serious health threat. Even medically prescribed chemicals need more careful testing: many have done such unforeseen damage that they have been withdrawn or restricted to those who are not old, young, frail or pregnant.

figo recs coverA 2015 report ( recommendations cover, left) by the London based International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, covers the exposure to toxic environmental chemicals during pregnancy and breastfeeding.This brings to mind earlier findings including:


Dana Mirick’s team at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle undertook an epidemiological study, following widespread internet rumours that antiperspirant use causes breast cancer. Mirick found no evidence of any link. The research centre, described as independent, is funded by a US government department.


The New Scientist in 2004 brought news of a US study by Dr Kris McGrath of Northwestern University published in the European Journal of Cancer Prevention (vol 12, p 479) suggested that deodorants or antiperspirants might be linked with breast cancer, but only together with underarm shaving. Northwestern ‘research’ University was founded by nine lawyers, businessmen and Methodist leaders to serve the people of the region and is governed by a board of trustees.

Mirick said that McGrath’s study has limitations – the most serious being the absence of a control group without breast cancer. Like Darbre [2004-2012], McGrath considers that the steady rise in the incidence of breast cancers could be linked to deodorants, but David Philips of the Institute of Cancer Research in London points out that the rise in underarm deodorant use seems to parallel or even lag slightly behind the cancer rise.


In 2007 the EU’s ‘REACH’ directive came into force – calling for the Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals. This obliged manufacturers or importers to provide proof of the safety of thousands of hitherto chemicals in common use. The American chemical industry objected because the regulations threatened the export of more than $20bn worth of chemicals to Europe each year.


In 2008 a healthy boy of 12 died of heart failure after spraying himself with too much deodorant, his inquest heard yesterday. He had inhaled too much Lynx Vice and the solvents in it caused an abnormal heartbeat. The Coroner, Dr Hunter, warned: “I do not know how many people read the warnings about exposure awareness. But people need to know about the risks that these products have on the cardio-vascular system.


FIGO’s website carried an article reporting that research published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology Thursday, 12th January 2012 revealed that at least one paraben has been found in tissue samples from all participants of a study on the link between chemicals and breast cancer. All were found to have flesh containing at least one chemical which has been connected to underarm cosmetics.

Reader in oncology at the University of Reading, Dr Philippa Darbre, who led the study alongside Mr Lester Barr at the University Hospital of South Manchester, warned: “The fact that parabens were detected in the majority of the breast tissue samples cannot be taken to imply that they actually caused breast cancer in the 40 women studied.” Co-author Mr Lester Barr, said: ‘The intriguing discovery that parabens are present even in women who have never used underarm products raises the question: where have these chemicals come from?’ 

We note here that parabens are still widely used as a preservative in cosmetics, food products and pharmaceuticals.

Jeremy Rifkin, advisor to several governments, believes that modern science is too primitive to address the problems of a world at risk due to the scale and carelessness of human intervention. He calls for a new approach that prioritises the human and environmental health of the whole world