In response to the editorial on June 9 regarding fluoride. The simplest way that promoters of fluoridation could demonstrate that their case for fluoridation was strong and scientifically-based would be take on qualified opponents of fluoridation in open public debate.
Their refusal to do so speaks volumes on their lack of confidence on the science of this issue. Instead of debate and use of the primary literature they resort to solo performances and the constant reference to outdated and meaningless endorsements by higher authorities. Such appeals to authority over primary science should have ended with the Popes clash with Galileo and the scientific revolution that followed.
I am prepared to return to Watertown to publicly debate this issue with any dentist, doctor, scientist or public health official (including Jay Kumar) who believes in fluoridation, should they find the confidence to defend their belief system. Hopefully, the editor of the Watertown Times, instead of blindly urging the continuation of this practice, could use his or her influence to find a fluoridation promoter willing to participate in such a debate in Watertown.
Meanwhile, I think readers can gauge the lack of scientific professionalism of the American Dental Association in this statement it made in a white paper from 1979:
Individual dentists must be convinced that they need not be familiar with scientific reports of laboratory and field investigations on fluoridation to be effective participants in the promotion program and that nonparticipation is overt neglect of professional responsibility. (ADA White Paper on Fluoridation, 1979)
It is clear that both bureaucrats in state health departments and members of the dental profession are under enormous pressure to toe the party line on this outdated practice. People of good will should insist that science, not authority, be the basis of public health policy, especially with one which has the potential to impact the health of millions of Americans. Only this way will governmental regulatory agencies and professional bodies begin to regain the trust of the American people and in this case the residents of Watertown.
The writer is director of the Fluoride Action Network.