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SIR - I read with interest statements made by public health officials in their persuasive arguments to enforce fluoridation of the water supply to every home in Wales ("Fluoridation is key to improving nation's dental health, says expert", March 25).

The Director of Public Health at Aneurin Bevan Health Board was quoted as saying: "Denying children fluoridated water denies them an intervention as effective as immunisation".

This viewpoint fails to recognise that it would not only be the children at risk of tooth decay that receive the fluoride, but the whole population of adults, children and babies regardless of their current intake of fluoride in other forms.

Fluoride occurs naturally in vegetables, fruits, tea and water; it is also added to toothpastes and is used in pesticides, the residues of which remain on foods and run into the water supply.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 0.8-1.2 mg/l of fluoride results in prevention of tooth decay and strengthening of the skeleton, however only marginally higher quantities at above 1.5mg/l result in Fluorosis causing pitting of tooth enamel and deposits in bones. At levels above 10mg/l "crippling skeletal fluorosis" occurs.

Morgannwg Local Dental Committee, described fluoridation as, "the single proven most effective measure to reduce tooth decay in children, particularly vulnerable children". Yet surely a more effective measure would be education and implementation of common sense policies, such as encouraging children to drink water rather than sugary drinks and allowing sweets at set times. This would have a positive knock on effect for child health as a whole.

Fluoridating the water supply is a form of mass medication, removing from individuals the right to choose.

Published evidence indicates that fluoride can have devastating effects, causing mottled teeth and osteoporosis even at very low levels.

Scientists from the University of California at San Diego report that fluoride switches off the enzyme cytochrome C oxidase, an oxygen carrying respiratory enzyme; deficiencies of this vital enzyme have been linked to cancer, severe diseases and even cot death (J Biol Chem, 1984; 259: 12984-88).

Studies from America, Canada and New Zealand show no difference in the rates of tooth decay between fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas (Fluoride, 1990;23: 55 - 67). Indeed, some studies indicate that the average rates of tooth decay in children are lower in non-fluoridated or low-fluoridated areas (J Can Dent Assoc., 1987; 53: 753-5; Am J Phys Anthropol, 1989; 78:79-92).

It was with relief I read the response of the Welsh government spokesman that there were no current plans to fluoridate the water supplies in Wales.

Research and statistics can be contradictory and are open to interpretation (and manipulation). Common sense prevails - should we add to our water supply a waste product of the aluminium industry; a product successfully used to annihilate insect life? MEILYR JAMES Registered Medical Herbalist, Iridologist and Acupuncturist, The Herbal Clinic - Swansea
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Apr 1, 2013
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