MPs Urged to Ignore ‘Merchants of Doubt’ on Fluoride
MPs and Public Urged to Ignore ‘Merchants of Doubt’ on Fluoridation
For Immediate Release
The last-ditch campaign full of misinformation by opponents of fluoridation is exactly the reason MPs need to get behind the bill currently awaiting second reading, according to Daniel Ryan, the president of Making Sense of Fluoride. (The bill will hand decision-making on fluoridation to DHBs rather than local authorities.)
Mr Ryan says the group called Rethink Fluoride is associated with Fluoride-Free NZ which has long waged a campaign of misinformation and scaremongering, with this latest campaign headed by a pair of retired renegade dentists. Previous campaigns using the same tactics have prompted reprimands from bodies such as the Dental Council and Advertising Standards Authority.
“The public can be reassured that the claims of this group including the ones citing ‘new information’ have no basis in fact,” says Mr Ryan. “Thousands of rigorous studies - including recent large-scale data from Sweden and Canada (as well as our own famous Dunedin Study) confirm that community water fluoridation improves oral health and does not lower IQ – or cause any other health problems.”
“These opponents rely on the lack of specialised expertise of the media and the public to promote an ideological view that denies the evidence. Compare that to the overwhelming scientific and medical consensus that fluoridation is a safe and effective way to improve the dental health of children and adults, no matter what people eat or how often they brush,” adds Mr Ryan.
He says the complex, eyeball-glazing and often counterintuitive nature of science is exactly why the bill before Parliament is vital, to ensure that merchants of doubt like FFNZ have their claims evaluated by the appropriate experts.
“In these days of fake news, it’s more important than ever for MPs to put their full support behind fluoridation, secure in the knowledge that they will be helping everyone have better oral health, especially our most vulnerable - who benefit the most from the proven effectiveness of fluoridation in public water supplies.”