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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.

 

 

 

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People from these countries visited the site this week

19 Oct

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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.

 

 

 

Water fluoridation: Bedford councillors accept the Precautionary Principle

16 May

In April, Bedford’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee unanimously recommended that fluoride should NOT be added to Bedford’s water.

This followed a protracted two-year debate. Bedford Council will now have to consult Bedfordshire County Council and the Secretary of State will eventually be involved in their decision. The issue could then go out to consultation and the public will be asked to respond within 3 months.

bedford cllrs fluoridationA video made by Fluoride Free Bedford includes footage of the council reflecting on this important decision.

Councillor Anthony Forth (below) issued the following statement:

bedford cllr quoted“I would like to propose that following the review process, this committee recommends a termination of the existing water fluoridation scheme, subject to the necessary consultations that are outlined on pages 26 to 28.

“I think that the evidence in favour of water fluoridation does seem extremely dated… On the other hand, a number of the pieces of evidence of dis-benefits are not as scientifically rigorous as we might like.

I think that as a group we’re happy to accept the Precautionary Principle that there isn’t strong evidence for re-introducing fluoride, so therefore we should not go ahead.”

Professor K.K. Cheng (professor of epidemiology, University of Birmingham) and his colleagues Iain Chalmers, editor, and Trevor A Sheldon,  professor and pro-vice chancellor. co-authored Adding fluoride to water supplies: US National Library of Medicine: National Institutes of Health

They reflected, in similar vein, that public and professional bodies need to balance benefits and risks, individual rights, and social values in an even handed manner. Those opposing fluoridation often claim that it does not reduce caries and sometimes overstate the evidence on harm. On the other hand, the Department of Health’s objectivity is questionable—it funded the British Fluoridation Society and, along with many other supporters of fluoridation, it used the York review’s findings selectively to give an overoptimistic assessment of the evidence in favour of fluoridation: Wilson PM, Sheldon TA. Muddy waters: evidence-based policy making, uncertainty and the “York review” on water fluoridation. Evidence Policy 2006: 2:321-31.

In response to the Medical Research Council recommendations, the department commissioned research on the bioavailability of fluoride from naturally and artificially fluoridated drinking water. The study had only 20 participants and was too small to give reliable results. Despite this it formed the basis of a series of claims by government for the safety of fluoridation.

The Cheng study ends: “Against this backdrop of one sided handling of the evidence, the public distrust in the information it receives is understandable. We hope this article helps provide professionals and the public with a framework for engaging constructively in public consultations”.

 

 

 

 

Christmas greetings from Richard Bruce

23 Dec

bruce card

Hillary Clinton’s biotech preference to the rescue?

27 Jun

monsanto logo (4)In April Bloomberg business news carried news of American consumers increasingly seeking milk and food products free of GM ingredients and of the surge in GM-free imports – 33% imported from sensible Romania where many communes and four cities have declared themselves GMO-free. 

However, Monsanto has given the Clinton foundation between $501,250 and $1 million. Dow Chemical Company, which is among the top GMO players, gave between $1 million and $5 million, according to financial disclosures by the Clinton Foundation.

hillary clinton jerry crawfordMoreover, S.A. Miller, who reports from Capitol Hill on politics, policy and political campaigns for The Washington Times, reports that Hillary Clinton will be assisted by a top campaign operative in Iowa – former Monsanto lobbyist Jerry Crawford, a veteran of Iowa politics and Clinton campaigns.

Mrs Clinton’s ‘history’ with the biotech industry dates back to her early days as an Arkansas lawyer with the Rose Law Firm, which represented Monsanto and other agribusiness leaders. Last year, she was paid to speak at a biotech industry conference in San Diego, where she championed GMOs and advised the executives and investors to give their products an image makeover. Monsanto’s plans to move to the UK to take advantage of George Osborne’s lower corporation tax rate, which would involve setting up a new company registered in the UK and – coinciding with Mrs Clinton’s advice – under a new name. More in another Washington Times article.

Bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public – really?

The journal Nature reports another setback for GM technology. Funded entirely by the government via its Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), which invests in bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public, Rothamsted scientists had hoped to show that the modified wheat repels aphids such as greenfly and blackfly without the need for spraying the crop with environmentally-damaging pesticides, but the results of the field trial showed that this was not the case.

Professor Huw Jones, senior molecular biologist at Rothamsted Research with oversight for the genetic changes in the plants said: “As scientists we are trained to treat our experimental data objectively and dispassionately but I was definitely disappointed. We had hoped that this technique would offer a way to reduce the use of insecticides in pest control in arable farming. As so often happens, this experiment shows that the real world environment is much more complicated than the laboratory.”

The results of the GM wheat field trial held by Rothamsted Research are published in the journal Scientific Reports and reproduced here under the Creative Commons licence.

Last words from MP Zac Goldsmith, two years ago are well worth repeating:

  • Farmers who took on herbicide-tolerant GM crops are now struggling with the cost of combating herbicide-resistant “superweeds“.
  • Some 49% of US farms suffer from Roundup-resistant superweeds, a 50% increase on the year before.
  • As a result, since 1996 there has been a disproportionate increase in the use of weedkillers – in excess of 225m kg in the US.
  • Farmers who took on pest-resistant GM crops are struggling with the cost of secondary pests unaffected by the built-in toxins.
  • In China and India, initial savings from reduced insecticide use with Bt cotton have been eroded as secondary pests emerged.

Golden Rice, not yet ready for commercial planting, is hailed as a solution to a problem that could be solved far more cheaply and quickly with the supply of green vegetables and cheap supplements.

Nor has GM boosted yields as promised. Indeed, in Europe, where only small amounts of GM maize are grown, yield growth of traditionally bred varieties is much faster than that of the GM-dominated midwest of the US: average yields in western Europe are now higher.

Top posts for 2014

3 Jan

Three were very close:

Why did China reject imports of Syngenta’s MIR162 Agrisure Viptera corn?

brenda award

Brenda Sutcliffe: organophosphate sheep dips

Should Dow Chemical be allowed to add to the load of toxic chemicals assailing the global public?

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